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Full text of "Adventure Volume 121 Number 1 May 1945 (Popular Publications)"

A 




THE SWORD OF 

CAPTAIN 



iliM;M«: 



A TAU Of 
THE CRUSADES 
by ARTHUR 

S. RIGGS 

MANY 

OTHERS 



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A 



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May, 1949 CONTENTS Vol. 121, No. 1 

THE SWORD OF CAPTAIN DUARDO (A Novelette) Arthur S. Rlggs 8 

The bloody chronicle of Messer Duardo of Genoa, Crusader in the Holy Wan against 
the Saracens.' 

GRANDMA WAS A LADY John Prescott 40 

Nell was a fine old boat — but what chance did she have in the Gold Cup races against 
Typhoon, a shiny new job that was hotter'n the door-knob on hell's main gate? 

CURSE OF THE SHINING STONES W. D. Hoffman 50 

The Syndicate's diamond mines were smuggler-proof for Kaffir and white overseer 
alike— yet somehow the great Dawson stone had vanished into thin air. 

MAKE YOUR OWN LUCK Richard Howells Watkins 62 

Skipper Dan Carpenter's luck was strictly Class Z — his converted sub-chaser was ship- 
shape, but sure as shooting there was something screwy with his crew. 

THE REUNION E. H. Tousscdnt 70 

When the concentration camp gates closed behind Steinert, he never expected to see 
his beloved dog again, but an ironic fate brought them together once more. 

THE SCARF OF O'SHANE Thomas Gilchrist 79 

O'Shane was immensely proud of that bit of bright silk he wore about his waist 
— and he sneered at the curse its former owner had laid upon him. 

HOLY MOSES MURPHY. James C. Lynch 84 

'The man who makes up his mind," Murphy tells me, "can do anything." Just like that. 
So all I had to do was make up my mind to beat the bejeezes out of big Mike Hannigan. 

SHARK BAIT (A Fact Story) Wilmon Menard 88 

Battling the man-eating tiger-sharks of the Dangerous Isles — exhilarating sport or a 
shortcut to suicide, depending on one's point of view. 

HUNTING PARTY. T. C. McClary 96 

Captain Zachariah Maxwell, fresh from the East, was horrified when he arrived at 
Fort Phil Kearney. No regulations, no discipline, no esprit de corps! No wonder 
Red Cloud's Sioux warriors lacked proper respect for the U. S. Cavalry. 

MEETING ON THE ICE Jim Kielgaard 108 

Warily, the great polar bear stalked the man, and Donnelly grimly stalked the bear; 
for to each the other meant life — or death in the frozen silence of the Arctic. 

LOST TRAILS Where old paths cross 6 

THE CAMP-FIRE Where readers, writers and adventurers meet 1 13 

THE TRAIL AHEAD .News of next month's issue 117 

ASK ADVENTURE Information you can't get elsewhere H8 

ASK ADVENTURE EXPERTS The men who furnish it 123 

Cover painted for Adventure by Robert Stanley 
Kendall W. Goodwyn, Editor 



Any resemblance between any character appearing in fictional matter, and any person 
living or dead, is entirely coincidental and unintentional. 



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Published monthly by Popular Publications, Inc., at 2256 Grove Street, Chicago 18, Illinois. Editorial and 
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Harold S. Goldsmith, Vice-Preaident and Treasurer. Entered as second-cIaBa matter October 2, 1935 at the 
Post Office, at Chicago. Illinois under the Act of March 3, 1879. Copyright, 1949, by Popular Publication* 
Inc. This issue is published simultaneously in the Dominion of Canada. Copyright under International Cody- 
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Thomas Conley, 1426 First Ave., N.Y.C. 
would like to locate Joseph Marshall, formerly 
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THE SWORD OF CAPTAIN DUARDO 



A Tale of the Crusades 




By ARTHUR S. RICCS 




Groans and curses filled the air as the shafts from 
the Pisan galley stack into bodies and planks alike. 



CAPTAIN DUARDO LOMEL- 
LINI of the Crossbowmen of San 
Giorgio leaned back against the 
low rail around the quarterdeck of the 
great-galley or longship Trionjo di San 
Giorgio and bellowed his delight in lusty 
song: 

"E tanti sun le Zenoexe, 
E per lo mondo si deste.xi, 



Che unde li van o start 
Un atra Zenoa ge fan!" 

("So many are the Genoese, 

And so widespread throughout the zvorld, 

That wherever they go or stay 

One finds another Genoa!") 

Captain Piero Giovanbattista of the 
great-galley grinned cheerily back at him. 



ILLUSTRATED BY L. STERNE STEVENS 

9 



10 

The heavily loaded vessel careened to the 
freshening northwester until her oar- 
ports were almost awash. About the nar- 
row decks lay the eleven hundred men of 
Messer Duardo's company and the vet- 
eran soldiery returning to the Holy Land 
for the Second Crusade — and the excel- 
lent looting and adventure and possible 
riches the wars against the Infidel provid- 
ed for all who survived them. Most of the 
men were beyond words as the galley 
thrashed her hissing way along the cream- 
ing blue surges. Below in the tweendecks 
the rowers lolled at ease on their benches. 
their heavy sweeps trailed and lashed for 
the moment. Overhead, two huge strain- 
ing lateens throbbed and hummed with the 
deep murmur of the wind. 

Messer Piero spat overside. "By St. 
George," he cried as Messer Duardo fin- 
ished his stanza, "with this wind we shall 
get you to Acre in record time. Your fel- 
lows will be glad to get there." 

"They wouldn't do much now," admit- 
ted the soldier ruefully. "But wait till we 
get there! We'll show those damned 
Pisans which are the better soldiers." 

Messer Piero swept the horizon. "St. 
George keep off any pirates until our fel- 
lows get their sea-legs. You know how 
well a seasick man fights." 

Duardo pulled off his steel and leather 
headpiece. "I ought to, by Bacchus!" He 
parted the hair above his right ear and 
displayed a fearful scar. "Got that on the 
way out the first time. I evened things up 
at Acre, though." He fingered his heavy 
blade as he spoke, and began to bellow an- 
other stanza of his interminable song. 

Captain Piero eyed him moodily. This 
weather was too good to last, the voyage 
going too smoothly not to presage disas- 
ter. Here he was with only about three 
hundred seamen and soldiers able to fight 
in such a sea, and eight hundred moan- 
ing, practically helpless archers, swords- 
men, arquebusiers and others of no value 
at all in case of emergency. He was too 
deep-laden to run from anything fast, and 
his cargo of munitions and supplies for the 
newly captured Acre too precious to jeop- 
ardize by a standup fight except in case 
of the direst necessity. It might be true, 
as that old braggart Captain Maurizio di 
Pessagno had said when he came in with 
a convoy from Romania, that not a Saracen 



ADVENTURE 

galley was anywhere about. But that didn't 
say they might not be overhauled by some 
Amalfitan or Pisan ready to play pirate 
at sight of a Genoese vessel. 

The Captain was not happy, and went 
heavily into his sterncastle. There was 
nothing he could do but continue to crack 
on, although the Trionfo was groaning in 
every timber and reeling through the fol- 
lowing seas with drunken abandon. He 
ought to have a convoy of at least two oth- 
er longships as powerful as his own. 

A lusty hail from the fighting-top on 
the mainmast brought him out of the stern- 
castle like a jack-in-the-box when the lid 
snaps up. The sailors at the vast twin 
steering-oars forgot their straining work 
and looked up, letting the wallowing 
Trionfo fall off with a crash as a sea caught 
her under the narrow counter and set her 
shivering in every timber. Messer Piero 
cursed them savagely and called aloft, 
"What do you see, fellow ?" 

"A great-galley, Signor Capitano. She 
sails to cut us off. There, a league off the 
port bow." 

"What flag is she?" 

The lookout strained his eyes again. His 
words came faintly down through the 
thrumming of the wind as it spilled from 
the leech of the great mizzen lateen. "The 
White Madonna, I think." 

"Gesu guard us now!" cried Messer 
Piero. "Pisan !" 




MESSER DUARDO 
stared anxiously at the dis- 
tant sail rapidly growing 
larger. She was still hull- 
down from the deck, but the glistening 
bulge of her sky-scraping lateen showed 
her to be big enough to provide a worthy 
fight. He turned inquiringly to Messer 
Piero. "We fight her, of course ?" 

"St. George, no!" barked the distracted 
shipmaster. "We must run if we can. Re- 
member, Acre is waiting for our supplies 
and money. I dare not risk a fight. 
Nocchiero!" he cried to the steersman-in- 
chief. "Let her fall off a bit. If yonder fel- 
low changes his course, we shall know." 

The Trionfo wallowed heavily and fell 
off before the wind, with every timber 
and every strand of rigging shrieking its 
protest. There was heavy silence along the 



THE SWORD OF CAPTAIN DUARDO 



windward rail as both the captains watched 
the distant vessel anxiously. For some 
time she held on steadily ; then they could 
see the position of her big lateen change 
slightly as the sunlight on it shifted posi- 
tion. She had eased her tacks and sheets 
a little. Not a doubt of it : she was run- 
ning down to head the Trionjo off. Messer 
Duardo fingered his baldric, and his hand 
played again about the hilt of bis heavy 
sword. If the stranger was a Pisan, he 
would fight with a will, though he would 
much have preferred avoiding her. There 
was little enough profit to be had in cap- 
turing a ship so close to her home port, 
especially if, as seemed likely, she was a 
naval craft and likely to prove a tough 
customer. Damn them, these Pisan dogs 
not only could fight, but they somehow 
managed to get all the breaks whenever 
they met a Genoese vessel. He turned to 
speak to Messer Piero, but the sailor was 
not there. 

Down on the long runway between the 
banks of oarsmen, he was talking furious- 
ly to the boatswain, gesticulating now at 
the enemy, now about the galley. Messer 
Duardo watched with increasing uneasi- 
ness. A fight was good, of course, and no- 
body could ask a better fight than with 
the hated Pisans. But after all, if a ras- 
cally shipmaster had the belly of a toad 
under his belt, one might well wish a 
priest was handy so he could confess. He 
was very much afraid Messer Piero was 
yellow. That talk about responsibility cer- 
tainly sounded like it. The stranger was 
boiling along fast now ; he could see her 
long, slim hull clearly coming down on 
them hand over hand, rolling and yawing 
fearfully in the trough as she rode duck- 
like over the surges through which the 
heavy Trionfo was crashing". No chance 
to avoid anything as light and fast as that. 
Well, he had better see to getting as many 
of his men ready to die as possible. He 
clambered stiffly over to where they lay 
in retching misery. 

His old sergeant, Gianni, eyed him grim- 
ly. Already he was buckling his leather 
corselet, reinforced with strips of limber 
steel. "Well," growled the veteran, "do 
we die today, my master ?" 

"Hell has plenty of room for Pisans," 
retorted Messer Duardo. "Some of us will 
go along to show them the way." 



Gianni snorted, and buckled a strap 
viciously. "Some! Hmph! Not half our 
fellows can stand." 

"Wait till the darts come over, my 
Gianni. They won't want to be pinned to 
the deck like flies. They'll fight — fight 
like Genoese !" 

"Catapult crews!" bellowed Messer 
Piero out of the confusion in the tween- 
decks. "Clear for action ! Port forward 
balista ! Cast off your breechings. Open 
magazines. Arquebusifs stand by. Man 
the tops. Cook, break out the lime-barrels 
and the liquid soap. Sergeants, open all 
magazines and pass up stones and darts 
for the main battery. Livelv now ! Stand 
by the braces. Helm, there ! She will try 
to ram and then lay us aboard. Stand by 
when I raise my arm to throw her up in 
the wind and ram if we can. If we can't 
do that, we can break the shock. Oarsmen, 
stand by your lashings and be ready to out 
oars. They haven't touched their lash- 
ings. Trumpeter, ready with the standard. 
Drummers stand by to beat to action." 

The galley quivered with the flurry 
and noise of preparation. Messer Piero 
was everywhere at once. Messer Duardo. 
verbally lashing his seasick men into pro- 
tecting themselves if they could not do 
much actual fighting, had time to watch 
the distribution of arms and armor, the 
coiling up of the windlasses that would 
hurl enormous catapult stones at the en- 
emy first, and later shower them with 
liquid soap and clouds of quicklime. On 
came the flashing great-galley, now bear- 
ing down with the glitter of arms in the 
sunshine. From the short staff on her 
sterncastle there whipped out the great 
ensign of Pisa bearing the White Ma- 
donna that carried terror far and wide to 
Italian as well as to Moorish hearts. Mes- 
ser Piero signalled the trumpeter, and in 
response the huge crimson banner with the 
golden griffon blazed a flaming patch 
against the vivid sky from the Trioiifo's 
towering poop. Faintly over the water 
came a derisive howd, followed by a stone 
that whirled harmlessly between the masts 
and made a tremendous splash in the sea 
beyond. 

"Forward port balista !" yelled Messer 
Piero. "Aim carefully. Fire when she is 
rising. Now I" 

Swinging smartly, the man in charge of 



12 



ADVENTURE 



the weapon struck the trigger with his 
mallet. The sharp click and rattle of the 
windlass cranks ended with the loud whirr 
as the released cords hurled a fifty-pound 
stone through the air. As the Trionjo rose 
drunkenly on the swell, everyone could see 
it sail majestically over the two hundred 
yards separating the straining craft, and 
crash squarely down in the midst of the 
crowded Pisan benches between decks. In- 
stantly the air was full of a bitter cloud of 
darts, as the enemy loosed his entire 
broadside. Ugly little tufted shafts stuck 
into bodies and planks alike. Groans and 
curses filled the air. The man standing be- 
side Messer Piero caught one full in the 
chest, clapped his hands wildly to the 
wound and screamed as he fell, vomiting 
blood. Messer Duardo, a few steps away, 
coolly let down his visor, plucked a dart 
out of the leather exterior of his corselet, 
and wound up his crossbow carefully. 

"Back into the womb that spawned you, 
little sweetheart," he purred, setting the 
dart carefully on the string and aiming at 
the helmsman on the enemy's starboard 
quarter. Twang! went his piece. The 
helmsman leaped high into the air and fell 
overboard. The big galley yawed wildly 
before another man could spring to the un- 
tended tiller and bring her back on her 
course, and the volley of darts and arrows 
loosed at the instant she fell away whistled 
harmlessly through the lateens and astern 
of the laboring Trionjo. 

CRAFTILY, Messer Piero 
changed his course and 
braced his clumsy yards to 
try to work to windward, 
both to avoid being rammed and to get a 
chance to use his soap and lime. But the Pi- 
san was swifter and more easily handled. 
His fire was fast, but wild, and compara- 
tively few of the Genoese had been killed, 
though a goodly number lay cursing and 
trying awkwardly to bind up nastily torn 
wounds. A shower of stones rained down 
and lay about the decks, making footing 
uncertain. Saving his own shafts for emer- 
gency, Messer Duardo jested grimly with 
his men as he plucked the Pisan darts out 
of the decks about him and shot them rap- 
idly back at their senders. Most of the 
Crossbowmen of St. George had staggered 
to their feet somehow, and though still pal- 
lid and retching, stood to their bows and 




did heavy execution. The Genoese fire was 
galling, and so many Pisans were down 
that the gleaming galley looked consider- 
ably less crowded. 

"All hands !" shouted Messer Piero sud- 
denly. "Up helm ! Quick ! Stand by to re- 
pel boarders 1" 

Rearing down like a hungry monster, 
the Pisan came crashing over to ram and 
board. Her bulwarks swarmed with howl- 
ing men brandishing their swords and 
pikes. Sluggishly the deep-laden Trionjo 
answered her helm, and a favoring sea 
catching her astern as she began to swing, 
hurled her suddenly around just in time 
to save her solid timbers from the dagger- 
like sperone or beak of the charging Pisan. 

With a grinding crash the two galleys 
rolled together, splintering the lashed oars 
like toothpicks. The swells dropped away, 
and they rolled apart, a hundred Pisans 
who had leaped as the crash came, falling 
into the foaming swirl of waters and 
broken oars. Back again the craft rolled. 
They did not crash. Caught between them 
the luckless hundred screamed once. The 
veterans of a score of such fights sickened 
at the greasy thud. Somebody threw a 
grappling-iron ; another, and another, and 
Pisan and Genoese were locked firmly in 
a grapple to the death. 

Howling, cursing, praying, a thousand 
Pisans tumbled over their rail upon the 
lower deck of the Trionjo. For a moment 
it was any man's fight along the rails. 
Inch by inch the sturdy Genoese gave way 
to the greater numbers and the ferocity 
of the Pisans. The tweendecks were a 
shambles, red and gasping. From the 
maintop of the Trionjo an arquebusier 
sniped steadily at the giant Pisan leader, 
a black-bearded swordsman in a scarlet 
surcoat and white trousers. At last he 
caught him squarely between the shoulders 
with a heavy quarrel from his arquebus 
and knocked him flat upon his face. His 
hea\'y two-handed sword flew from his 
grasp. Two Genoese hacked viciously at 
his armored neck and shoulders. With a 
roar of anger, the Pisan leaped up, grabbed 
his attackers by the necks, and dashed 
their heads together with a crash that split 
the helmet of one. Hurling their senseless 
bodies aside, he sprang for his sword, and 
again slashed his bloody way through the 
swarming tangle toward Messer Duardo. 



THE SWORD OF CAPTAIN DUAEDO 



13 



Messer Piero was down. The nocchieri 
had all fallen into the sea, and the two 
galleys, yawing and staggering, blew along 
together, grinding up and down savagely. 
Messer Duardo had abandoned his cross- 
bow long since, and with some of his men 
at his back hacked his way valiantly into 
the Pisans, shouting for St. George and 
Genoa. His blade dripped ruddily. Pant- 
ingly he warned his men, "Kill! Kill for 
St. George and Genoa! It's Scorni- 
giani the pirate. We'll all be sold for 
slaves if we don't kill them all !" 

A tremendous flail-like sweep of a 
clubbed pike from one side caught him on 
the temple and knocked him a dozen feet 
into the scuppers. The tide of battle rolled 
over him and swept its roaring way aft, 
the black pirate wielding his tremendous 
blade with machine-like precision and 
deadliness. Penned against the walls of 
the sterncastle, the last group of Genoese 
still able to fight threw down their swords. 
Scornigiani regarded them wrathfully. 
Resting upon the hilt of his sword, he 
glanced from them toward what was left 
of his own crew, and the writhing, groan- 
ing, red-stained abattoir of the decks. 

"By the saints !" he swore. "Another 
fight like this and Scornigiani will need a 
whole new crew. Who would have 
thought," he said to his second in com- 
mand, the armor-cased, squat little scriba 
or combination of lieutenant and ship's 
yeoman, "that a shipload of swinish Geno- 
ese merchants would fight like this ?" 

"Merchants !" mocked the scriba. "Mes- 
ser Luigi, most of these men are veteran 
soldiers of the Crusades. Don't you see 
their Crosses?" 

Staring about him astonished, the pirate 
nodded slowly and took in a gasping lung- 
ful of salt air. "Per Bacco ! When I fight, 
I see only swords. Yes — crusaders !" He 
chanced to look at Messer Duardo, just 
pulling himself to a sitting position and 
holding his cracked head together with a 
groan. The huge Cross was plain on his 
surcoat. "You, fellow! Who are you? 
Who are these men who dared to fight 
Luigi Scornigiani of Pisa ?" 

Messer Duardo's head still wobbled 
about in circles, his eyes would not focus, 
his legs refused to bear his weight, and the 
roaring of hell crashed in his ears. But 
he heard the question, and his native ha- 



tred of anything Pisan burnt away what- 
ever caution he might have had in better 
circumstances. 

"Dog of a Pisan ! Pirate ! Filthy despoil- 
er of decent people !" he snarled, using dia- 
lect because he knew Scornigiani would 
find it hard to understand and be angered. 
"You bloody pirates — you ask me who I 
am ? I am Captain Duardo Lomellini, 
commanding the Company of the Cross- 
bowmen of San Giorgio, crusader, and 
bound for Acre to show cowards of Pisans 
how to avenge the insults to our beloved 
Christ in the land of the Infidel." He 
crossed himself piously, spat out a tooth 
which had somehow wandered out of 
place in his aching jaw, and scowled chal- 
lenge. "Beast ! Pig ! Let me get my breath 
and I will kill you ! Ho, Crossbowman ! 
Help me up. Give me. my sword, some- 
body. Body of — !" He slumped weakly 
back into the scuppers and lapsed into un- 
consciousness again. Scornigiani scowled 
and went slowly over to look down at him. 
Methodically and accurately he kicked him 
from foot to head, crashing his heavy sea- 
boot against legs and side, arms and head, 
while the raging Genoese looked on silent, 
not daring to speak. 

"Scriba, muster all hands. Find out how 
many men we have lost. Search this ship 
and find out what she carries. Throw the 
dead overboard, and any wounded that are 
not worth curing to sell. Tie up that son 
of a thousand bastards there in the scup- 
pers. Smartly, now. Turn to, everybody." 

SCORNIGIANI entered 
the sterncastle and rum- 
maged in Messer Piero's 
cabin. A whoop of savage 
delight announced his discovery of the 
chests of money and the ship's manifest 
and articles, with the statement of the 
merchants' goods in the hold. Here was a 
prize worth fighting for ! New galley just 
off the ways, two chests full of metal cur- 
rency good anywhere in the Mediterran- 
ean, ample ship's stores, rich bales and 
bundles of negotiable goods, fifty mer- 
chants and twelve hundred fighting men 
bound for the Holy Wars, great stores of 
munitions and war engines for Acre ! He 
was still gloating over his extraordinary 
luck when the scriba came in with a dole- 
ful expression. 




14 



ADVENTURE 



"Signor Capitano," he said grimly, "we 
have need to win great booty to make up 
for our losses. Out of thirteen hundred 
men we had this morning, scarce nine hun- 
dred are alive and unhurt now." 

Scornigiani swore zestfully. "One in 
three dead I" 

"One in three," assented the lieutenant 
somberly. "Our best, too. The Genoese 
lost about the same. We have counted be- 
tween seven and eight hundred men fit 
to sell. Of the fifty merchants they say 
were aboard, only thirty are left, but they 
ought to bring heavy ransoms." 

"What damage to the ships?" Scorni- 
giani demanded. 

''Very little, sir. Both are leaking badly, 
but that can be repaired in ease once we 
get home. The wind is blowing up a 
gale. You had better come out and set 
the course. We return to Pisa . . . ?" 

The pirate strode out on deck. The sun 
was gone. Thick green haze obscured the 
horizon. Still lashed together, but separat- 
ed now by heavy buffers, Genoese Trionfo 
and Pisan Dragone rolled and labored. A 
single glance told the shipmaster the futil- 
ity of trying to work back to Pisa with 
half a gale in his teeth, a heavy sea rolling 
in and every prospect of dirty weather 
ahead. No telling how long this vile wind 
would last, and the oars of both craft were 
floating miles away in matchwood. They 
must run for it ; trust to luck not to reach 
the dreaded Strait of Messina before they 
could make harbor safely. Any port 
would do for two leaking ships, both short- 
handed. 

"Divide the prisoners," Scornigiani 
commanded tersely. "You take the Trionfo 
and follow me south. Divide our own men. 
You take the best. Chain the prisoners. 
If we can put in safely before we reach the 
Strait, we'll round the southeastern corner 
of Sicily, put into Syracuse and sell these 
Genoese dogs to the Saracens. They will 
probably want everything. Tell the men 
we have a rich prize. Promise every man 
a pound of pepper for today's work besides 
his regular share." 

"Messer Luigi ! A pound ! Of long-pep- 
per ? Why — " 

"Out of my own profits," snarled the 
pirate. "Avanti! Be quick ! We shall have 
a whole gale in another hour. Are all the 
dead thrown over ?" 



"And all the badly wounded," shouted 
the scriba, as he scrambled for the rail 
and yelled to the men. 

There was much to be done, and both 
galleys had to be snugged down to ride 
the increasing fury of the gale. Both huge 
yards of the Trionfo had to be fished 
where catapult stones had cracked them. 
The decks were a horrible mess of clotted 
blood and debris. Broken weapons lay 
everywhere. A barrel of lime that had 
broken loose with the rolling of the galley 
had burst and added its steaming, charring 
fury to the littered deck. The men were 
at a thousand tasks at once, the carpenter 
and his mates making sure first of all of 
the wounded spars. Gloomily, Scornigiani 
surveyed the battered vessels. The cata- 
pults had done considerable damage, and 
his own sterncastle was almost demolished. 
A splintered gap in the port quarter of the 
Trionfo showed where one of his own mis- 
siles had crashed through. With the rap- 
idly mounting sea, they must hurry. He 
fell to with his men. 

Two hours later the galleys reefed down 
to almost bare yards, wallowed southward 
before the gale. The Dragone led, show- 
ing a lanthorn'in the sheltered after port 
of her sterncastle. Wildly it danced over 
the hissing surges, now tossed to the stars, 
now vanishing in the black and white of a 
roaring trough. Both craft leaked badly, 
and the pumps broke the backs of the 
straining prisoners as they struggled in re- 
lays all through the night. 

Just before daybreak they raised Strom- 
boli, intermittently spouting its lurid warn- 
ing in the blackness of the gale, an exag- 
gerated Roman candle whose sparks spat 
venomously straight upward before trail- 
ing off to leeward in a rain of red. Scorni- 
giani crossed himself and let the Dragone 
wallow ahead. If he could hold a course 
midway between Scylla and Charybdis — 
and with this gale and sea to help him 
he might be able to — he would avoid the 
perilous eddies and find calmer going in 
the Gulf of Messina just around the cor- 
ner of Sicily. Syracuse would be only a 
day's sail distant and there, in the great 
Moorish market, he could find ready tak- 
ers for captives, cargo and galley itself. 
What if the Pope had banned the sale of 
shipping and nautical stores to the Infidel ? 
Let the priests tend to their chanting ! Sea- 



THE SWORD OF CAPTAIN DUARDO 



13 




faring was a man's work. He had the 
right to dispose as he saw fit of what he 
had won by risking his life. 

CHAPTER II 

GALLEY SLAVE 

AND SO the Dragone came 
eventually into Syracuse 
harbor, battered, wearied to 
exhaustion by the long 
struggle, but ready to trade. After her 
trailed the all but waterlogged Trionfo, 
her decks still stained darkly fore and aft, 
her stumps of oars long since thrown over- 
board, her great mizzenyard cracked and 
sprung beyond repair, and the Pisan 
White Madonna at her stern instead of 
the scarlet banner of Genoa. A Saracenic 
coastguard boat skimmed out toward the 
newcomers and harsh voices told them 
where to anchor, under the guidance of a 
pilot whose black beard wagged goatishly 
as he conned the Dragone to her moorings. 
From another shore boat that whisked up 
alongside emerged a lean but powerful 
Moor in a green turban and immaculate 
white burmts. Saluting Scornigiani curtly 
he gave him the everlasting peace of Allah 
the merciful, and sternly demanded his 
name and business. 

Messer Luigi smiled. "I am Luigi Scor- 
nigiani, pirate, of Pisa, here to sell to your 
merchants certain stout Christian slaves, 
a fine galley and a goodly cargo of the 
merchandise of the north." 

The Moor scowled. "Of what country 
are the slaves ?" 

"Of Genoa. Among them are some 
thirty merchants who should be able to 
ransom themselves handsomely," he add- 
ed, as a further bait. "Come into my stern- 
castle and behold the ship's papers." 

"Christian dog ! Am I a merchant, to 
chaffer with you over a filthy pack of 
slaves and some plunder? Bring your 
wares to the market and deal with mer- 
chants and slave-traders no better than 
yourself !" 

Scornigiani shrugged. Insults from a 
turbanned Moor meant nothing to him, 
and theology was the last thing in the 
world for him to squabble over with any- 
one — unless it were a Genoese. He bowed, 
and the details were quickly settled. The 



haughty Moor snapped directions about 
mooring the Trionfo at the ancient Greek 
quay beside the custom house. 

Aching and sore from head to foot with 
one vast agony, sea-salt festering in his 
wounds, and still lashed fast where the 
scriba had tied him while still unconscious 
after Scornigiani had kicked him thor- 
oughly, Messer Duardo watched the pro- 
ceedings dolefully. The swarms of Moor- 
ish longshoremen crowding like ants into 
the hold to lug out the bales and chests of 
merchandise and bulky cargo, singing 
shrill, monotonous songs as they toiled, 
did his cracked pate no great good. And 
when the slave-dealers came swarming on 
board to look over and estimate the value 
of the human merchandise, he was almost 
sorry for himself. If that Pisan swine had 
only kicked him a little harder, he would 
not now have to go on the block, where 
he had put so many himself. He had never 
before thought much about how it hurts 
to be felt of, stared at, commented on, bid 
for as a bit of salable goods, much too 
high in price but useful, perhaps, for lim- 
ited purposes. 

A slave-dealer turned to Scornigiani 
and waved both hands contemptuously at 
the surly array of prisoners marshalled at 
last on the wharf under guard of heavily 
armed pirates. "Rabble!" he sneered. 
"You call these good for slaves? Why, 
Christian, they are almost worthless. I 
wouldn't buy them at all only that you are 
a brave man and a good friend." 

"As we both believe in God," stormed 
Scornigiani, "these are the flower of all 
Genoa, the finest fighting men in Liguria. 
We had to kill four hundred of them to 
capture their ship! Rabble? Blood of 
God!" 

The Moor smiled at his enthusiasm. 
Here indeed was a man who knew how 
to bargain. "Who is their head man ?" 

"Yonder fellow with the cracked head," 
Scornigiani replied. Ah, now there you 
have a man worthy to fight a Saracen ! 
The fool was wounded and all but dead, 
yet he tried to attack me — me, Luigi 
Scornigiani — with his bare hands ! Would 
you dare to do that, Signor Merchant?" 

Carefully the Moor examined Messer 
Duardo. He rubbed the salt from his fes- 
tering wounds to make sure they were not 
too deep, but drew only a snarl of anger 



16 



ADVENTURE 



rather than pain from Duardo's dry and 
twisted lips. He punched him in the bar- 
rel chest, tested the bulging muscles of 
arm and thigh, jerked his mouth open 
roughly and looked at his teeth, smiling 
happily as Duardo cursed him in the choic- 
est soldier obscenities years of camp and 
field had taught him. 

"You see?" Scornigiani prodded. "He 
knows he will be made a galley slave, and 
he will pull a mighty oar, yet he is not 
afraid of you nor of the Padishah himself. 
His men are all like him." 

The Moor considered thoughtfully, let- 
ting his gaze roam over the sorry, salt-en- 
crusted lot, dirty, unshaven, stinking as 
only sailors of that age could stink of gar- 
lic and pitch, sweat and dried blood. 
"Well," he said at last, "I will probably 
have to feed them for months before I 
can dispose of such a poor lot. I really 
do not want or need them. I'll give you 
half a shipload of onions for the lot." 

"What !" exploded the pirate, beside 
himself at such an offer. "None hundred 
men, and only half a ship full of onions ! 
Am I crazy ?" 

"You must have been to fight for such 
a lot as these," was the cool reply. "I'm 
giving you too much, at that." 

"God forgive all my sins!" Scornigiani 
wailed. As suddenly he snapped back into 
energy. "Scribal" he bawled. "Oh, 
Scribal" 

"Signor Capitano !" 

"Drive all these fellows back on board 
the Dragone and tie them up. We have 
slaves for sale, but there is no market 
here." To the Moor, who still smiled craft- 
ily, he added in a growl, "Their ship is 
yours, and the goods. Your people have 
paid fairly for them. I will take these 
slaves to a market where they know the 
value of men. Don't think that I and my 
men couldn't storm your city right now 
if we wanted to. Your fleet is away. How 
would you like to be taken to Pisa and 
sold yourself?" 

"Bismallah — if God wills," returned the 
Moor piously. "But in His mercy He does 
not will it this time. You are a good bar- 
gainer for a Christian, but I would not say 
too much about what I would do before 
the Emir's Captain of the Guard. We have 
about four thousand veterans here. Per- 
haps when they had finished, I should find 



myself buying an insolent dog of a rene- 
gade who pretends to be a Christian. Your 
own Faith forbids you to trade with us 
Moslems, to sell us ships or arms or any- 
thing else we need ; yet here you sail 
right into one of our ports and like the 
vile apostate that you are, try to frighten 
a good Moslem. Shaitan fly off with you ! 
I will raise my bid to one full shipload of 
onions. That is my last word. Take it or 
carry off your mangy curs !" 

With a fine show of dignity, he wrapped 
his flowing white burniis more tightly 
about his broad shoulders and stalked 
away a few paces. Scornigiani swore lust- 
ily and strode after the scriba. Furiously 
he argued in protest at such a ridiculous 
price. He would storm their verminous 
hole of a port, put every man to the sword 
and rape everything female from six to 
sixty ! He would avenge every insult to 
the Christian Faith ever uttered by any 
Moor, he would plunder and burn and 
ravage, he would — Placidly the scriba lis- 
tened until the paroxysm of his rage flick- 
ered down to an ominous grumble. 

"Signor Capitano mine," his second in 
command finally said quietly, "we have 
won a great prize and we have sold it for 
a great price. Again Pisa has done much 
hurt to Genoa. But God wills it that no 
man shall have his full desire. Take the 
Moor's price. A ship full of onions is not 
much for nine hundred slaves ; but Amalfi 
is very short of onions, and we can barter 
these for the silks of Romania and 
Greece." He gestured vigorously as Scor- 
nigiani tried scowlingly to interrupt. "And 
who shall prevent men who travel north 
from telling in Genoa how the Pisan 
Scornigiani, to show his contempt for 
Genoese fighting men, sold nine hundred 
of the best of them for mere onions? 
Think well of that, my Captain and give 
the Moor his way of them. If we take 
them back to sea we shall only have to 
'send them home in their boots' [make 
them walk the plank. — Ed.] There is 
small profit in drowning them all, and con- 
siderable labor. We may even be able to 
make the Amalfitani give us metal coins 
for fresh onions — they have no sense in 
such matters." 

The idea was slow in penetrating the 
pirate's none too gifted head, but when he 
pictured the futile rage of Genoa at the 



THE SWORD OF CAPTAIN DUARDO 



17 




news that a Genoese soldier's worth could 
be measured in onions, he threw back his 
black head and guffawed until the tears 
streamed down into his beard, and the 
Moor turned to stare at this insane Chris- 
tian dog. Men for onions ! Men for on- 
ions ! St. George, but that was a good one 
for Genoa ! "Ho, Moor !" he bellowed, 
suddenly bubbling over with friendliness. 
"I accept your offer, bad though it is. 
Take the lot, and load us up with your 
finest onions. Put a few bags of rotten 
ones on deck at the last. Them I would 
send to Genoa as the price of this fellow 
Duardo here. Haw, haw, haw !" 

CHAINED loosely to his 
bench in the Sultan galley, 
Messer Duardo felt himself 
in grave plight indeed. He 
was sore as a boil all over; sore as two 
boils. He ached from his toenails to his 
hair, as only a new galley-slave can ache. 
He had pulled at the gigantic sweep to 
which he and two other luckless captives 
were chained until he could neither stand 
nor exert an ounce of pull. He had fainted 
standing up from sheer fatigue, and his 
two fellow slaves had resented his weak- 
ness and jeered until the boatswain's mate 
with the whip and the vinegar cut his 
back to ribbons and brought him gasp- 
ing and moaning back to agonized con- 
sciousness. Hell surely could be no worse 
than this, and he vaguely mouthed a pray- 
er through his agonies for death. Better 
be killed than suffer this way. He fell 
across the oar again. 

Half a dozen other new slaves, unused 
to the frightful work, were distributed 
among the veterans whose muscles had 
become inured to the strain of rowing for 
hours. Their weakness told upon the 
rhythmic sweep of the 35-foot oars, and 
the fast Sultan wobbled a little in her pace 
in spite of the efforts of the time-setter 
with his drum to give the men the beat 
so sharply they would automatically fol- 
low it. Astern under an awning the beard- 
ed Emir in command looked his anxiety 
and disgust. A Venetian fleet was in the 
offing somewhere, and the Sultan was car- 
rying dispatches which must reach Alex- 
andria in the shortest possible time. The 
slaves could not be spared, and as there 
was no wind, they pulled steadily for 



twenty endless hours; pulled until even 
the sturdiest of them had to be revived 
with the whip, and the new men swayed 
back and forth like dangling sacks of 
putty. The brutal Mediterranean sun 
blazed down upon them ferociously, and 
when, as the Emir had feared, a great 
Venetian naval galley appeared and ran 
swiftly down upon them on its hundred 
and twenty legs, there was not enough en- 
ergy left in the oars to make even an at- 
tempt at maneuvering. 

With a bitter curse, the Emir changed 
his course and took the chance of head-on 
collision. As the vessels crashed together, 
the Sultan's oarsmen dropped at their 
sweeps and lay inert. Fighting with the 
despair of trapped tigers, the Moslem 
soldiery leaped forward calling upon Allah 
and swinging their light scimitars. The ar- 
mored Venetians wasted little precious 
breath in shouting. There were old scores 
to wipe out, and with one yell of Sam- 
marco — Vinegia!" they met despair with 
fury. The conflict was as short as it was 
bloody. The scimitars could not cut 
through steel corselets, but the heavy 
blades of Venice did frightful work on hu- 
man tissues. 

Messer Duardo slowly regained his 
senses to find his face covered with fresh 
blood ; still dripping down upon him 
monotonously. He was lying flat upon his 
back over the bench. Above him, project- 
ing from the narrow deck, lay the body of 
a soldier, the head almost severed by a 
swordstroke. With a groan Duardo turned 
his head far enough to escape the madden- 
ing drip, and to look for his two compan- 
ions, veterans both. One was grotesquely 
bent into a circle, his head smashed by a 
catapult stone. The other, a huge, squatty 
Greek, was twisted around, back to the 
stump of the broken-off sweep, staring 
with sightless eyes at an arm sheared off 
at the shoulder. Duardo swore softly. 
What had happened to himself? Where 
was he wounded, and how? Gingerly he 
flexed his muscles. One by one they 
obeyed him, creaking and agonizing, but 
sound. He struggled weakly to turn over 
and crawl to his feet. A Venetian armor- 
smith with shears and a sledge came along 
the line of bloodied benches. As he saw 
Durado stir feebly, he laughed. 

"Sammarcol Here is one alive! Still 



18 



ADVENTURE 



there a minute, and I'll have your chains 
off. The Magnificent Messer Romolo 
would have a look at all the Christian 
slaves. " 

"Who are you?" Duardo's cracked lips 
mouthed the words with difficulty. "What 
is your ship ?" 

"Ha !" exclaimed the armorsmith, paus- 
ing in his work to stare. "Genoese! I 
would know that bastard dialect any- 
where. Who am I, fellow ? I am Vittorio, 
chief armorsmith of the Venetian galley 
Santissima Trinita, one hundred and sixty 
oars when fully manned, Captain the 
Magnificent Messer Romolo Dandolo 
commanding. We are the flagship-cruiser 
of Messer Adriano Zeno's big squadron, 
out to catch Saracens. Who are you?" 

Messer Duardo brightened a little, but 
groaned as the shackles were roughly 
struck from his waist, ar>4 the Venetian 
pushed him upright. 

"I am a crusader," he began. 

"By all the saints!" howled the Vene- 
tian. "You look it, by Saint Mark! I 
suppose you command a great company of 
crusaders, too!" 

"I have two hundred of the stoutest 
fellows that ever sailed from Genoa — the 
Company of the Crossbowmen of San 
Giorgio, bound for Acre, and — " 

Chief Armorsmith Vittorio swept off his 
headpiece and bowed low. "Messer Cap- 
tain, I salute a great man and a wonderful 
commander! Truly a Genoese, as grand a 
talker in distress as in triumph ! Going to 
defend Acre from the Moor all by him- 
self. Bravo bravissimo!" He laughed 
again, but the laugh had a snarl in it. 
The dead Saracen dripped down the back 
of Vittorio's neck, and he started, stared 
up, and thrust the body out of the way as 
casually as he would have swung his 
heavy hammer on a stout chain. "Rub 
your face off before Messer Romolo sees 
you or he will think you are a Moor and 
have you thrown to the sharks." 

Messer Duardo balanced himself with 
difficulty against the swaying loom of his 
oar. "You may scoff, Venetian," he said 
not without dignity, "but I am so grateful 
for being set free I will overlook — " 

"Free! Set free!" echoed Vittorio. 
"Call me a saint, will you? Why, you fool 
of a Genoese ! Since when has Venice set 
free a Genoese caught in a Saracen gal- 




ley? The block for you, if you can be 
sold!" 

"But—" 

"Oh, fry in hell, where you belong! 
You damned Genoese have made more 
trouble in the Levant than we Venetians 
can stomach. Set you free? The captain 
would look at you and all the rest just to 
see what sort of gallowsbirds we have 
captured. You'll all go to the slave-market 
in Rhodes," he added, passing on to un- 
shackle the next benchfull. "Lay aft there 
on the upper deck. Mind your tongue if 
you don't want a Venetian pike through 
your gizzard I" 

PAINFULLY Messer Duar- 
do pulled himself together. He 
could not believe what he had 
just heard, yet his common 
sense told him it was true. Venice bore 
no more love for Genoa than Genoa had 
for Pisa. It was true, as the armorsmith 
had declared, that Genoa had deliberately 
broken into Venetian markets and zones 
of influence throughout the Levant in the 
effort to secure a share of the rich trade 
and colonial enterprises the First Crusade 
had made so profitable. He looked at his 
hands. Tough as they had been from 
handling sword and crossbow, the terrific 
work at the oar had blistered and torn the 
skin from fingers and palms till it hung in 
shreds, and he could not touch anything 
without the fires of hell burning' from 
finger-tip to elbow. Would he ever be 
able to handle a sword again, or would 
these cruelly tortured hands wither into 
hard, racked claws fit for nothing useful? 
He moved, and the deep whip-cuts and 
weals covering his back drew and stung 
as he crept staggeringly among the dead 
and badly wounded on his way aft. 

The slaughter had been terrific. Inured 
as he was to fighting, Messer Duardo 
felt his empty belly quiver with nausea. 
When he had finally picked his way up 
into the open and stood among the hud- 
dled prisoners in the waist, he saw noth- 
ing reassuring. Stolidly a handful of 
Venetian pikemen with weapons ready 
guarded Moor and Christian alike. Strag- 
gling up .from below more and more of 
both religions joined the motley group in 
a deadly silence, nursing frightful wounds 
or whole-skinned, but spiritless. 



THE SWORD OF CAPTAIN DUARDO 



19 



Before the tent or awning sheltering 
the quarterdeck stood a Venetian noble in 
gleaming black armor. He was a huge 
brute of a man, his great square body 
carrying the weight of the heavy steel 
cuirass and thigh-pieces as easily as a 
doublet, and swaying gracefully to the 
roll of the dismasted galley. Piercing 
black eyes looked out above the black mat 
of whiskers that seemed to gush from his 
ears and nostrils; the sort of eyes that 
see once and remember always. Messer 
Duardo had heard of him at Acre, Captain 
Romolo Dandolo, a man so strong he 
could boast of having killed two Moors 
by strangling them both, Hercules-fashion, 
one with either hand. A fanatic patriot, 
a religious zealot, a phenomenally skillful 
sailor and fighter, he was magnificent in 
truth. Now his face was dark with anger 
and disappointment. 

"Are these all the Christians?" he 
growled in a bass rumble in keeping with 
his squat figure. 

"Yes, please Your Magnificence," an- 
swered a grizzled admiral. Messer Rom- 
olo's executive officer. "We found only 
about fifty, all Genoese." 

Messer Romolo glared at them in dis- 
gust. "Genoese! They would be Genoese. 
Sammarco! I would rather have taken 
Pisans than these dogs. Ho, you ! Is there 
any man amongst you who can read 
Arabic?" 

No one dared answer. Beside Duardo 
and two or three others, none could read 
at all. The Venetian scowled under- 
standingly. 

"I will give his freedom to the man who 
can read me the dispatches we took from 
this pagan dog here." He kicked the body 
of the Emir savagely. "You Genoese deal 
with Tunis so much you ought to read 
Arabic. What ! No one ?" His disappoint- 
ment curdled into rage that expressed it- 
self in such a blistering of Genoa and all 
her sons that Messer Duardo's battered 
spirits rose from sheer admiration. The 
Magnificent one began with the sin of 
Eve and included every generation and its 
shortcomings from the Garden of Eden 
to the moment at hand in a rolling, lurid, 
soul-satisfying torrent of invective and de- 
scription that devils might envy but never 
excel. He was not even out of breath when 
he finished. For a moment Messer Duardo 



vaguely considered trying to trick him 
by pretending to read the dispatches — 
abandoned it as too risky. He had no fancy 
for the eighteen inches of cold Venetian 
dagger he was sure to get through his 
bowels if he roused the suspicions of his 
captor. "Come! Speak up!" roared the 
Magnificent. "I keep my word. Who reads 
me these — " he shook a roll of parchment 
at the captives — "goes free. You with the 
Cross there," he strode up to Duardo and 
spread the parchment before him, "read 
me this." 

"Nay, Magnificent. Latin I can read, 
and make some shift with the ciphers of 
the Greeks, but this I cannot." 

Messer Romolo stared at him, rolled 
up the parchment and strode away aft 
again muttering. It mattered little, after 
all. He could have it read in the fleet 
when he rejoined it. Now his task was to 
clear away this mess, rig a jury-mast on 
the prize and work his limping vessels to 
Rhodes. Most of the Genoese could be 
safely turned to and replace the Venetians 
who had been killed in the fight. He gave 
his orders with a crisp clearness that set 
every man to his task with understand- 
ing. 

Wounded though many of them were, 
the Genoese were pricked into brisk obedi- 
ence by Venetian pikes — all but Messer 
Duardo. Greatly daring, he made his way 
straight to Messer Romolo and extended 
his torn and bloodied palms. The com- 
mander stared at him, too much astonished 
at such insubordination for speech. 

"Magnificent Signor Capitano, I have 
fought in the Holy Wars already, and I 
know you from the first battles before 
Acre, though you do not know soldiers as 
well as you do sailors. I am Messer Du- 
ardo Lomellini of Genoa, and I had a 
company of two hundred of the finest 
crossbowmen in Liguria when we were 
captured by Scornigiani the Pisan pirate 
and sold to the Moor. I have been at the 
oar — I, a leader of fighting men! I can- 
not work because I cannot touch anything 
with these hands. But I can pay a good 
ransom. My name is good at the bank of 
Messer Federigo Santorini at Genoa. 

"Liar! To work with you before I 
crack your neck apart and throw you to 
the crabs! Your 'name is good at the 



20 



ADVENTURE 



bank' ! Scratched hands, have you ? Poor 
fellow, it cuts me to the heart to see you 
so." His voice rose to a snarl, and he 
struck Messer Duardo a slap across the 
cheek that sent him reeling into the scup- 
pers. "Tell that pretty story to the slave- 
trader when we get to Rhodes ! Hai, Ad- 
miral ! Set this prince of liars to work. Let 
him know what work means in the Navy 
of Venice. If he gets tired, throw him 
overboard to rest a while." 

The executive seized Duardo and 
thrust him below. Out of sight of the 
captain, the kindlier subordinate whis- 
pered to him to keep out of sight and to 
do everything he could without using his 
hands too much. "Keep busier than the 
Pope at Easter," he warned impressively. 
"The Magnificent sees all. If you say a 
word of what I'm doing for you, I will 
show you things about whipping you 
-never knew, you Genoese dog!" 

CHAPTER III 

SARACEN SCIMITARS 

gS* FORTUNATELY, it was 

W/f^ only seven days to Rhodes, 
'/fjf and once the harbor was 
reached, Messer Duardo felt 
considerably relieved. He even welcomed 
the coming of the hard-faced Venetian 
slavetrader who looked over the ill-assort- 
ed lot of prisoners with a calculating eye. 
Besides himself, two of the Genoese mer- 
chants were up for a second time, and 
Duardo let them do the chaffering first 
with the incredulous dealer. They got no- 
where, for they had been robbed thor- 
oughly, and being both small, mean look- 
ing fellows, their stories did not impress 
the trader. Messer Duardo felt it was time 
for him to interfere. 

"Signor Merchant," he said with all the 
haughtiness he could put into his tone, 
"these two good fellows speak the truth. 
They are rich. They can indeed make you 
rich if you but listen and hold them until 
their ransoms arrive." 

The trembling merchants shot him a 
stare of fear mingled with gratitude for 
such unexpected generosity. The Venetian 
eyed all three suspiciously, then laughed. 
"A pretty game," he observed, stroking 
his beard, "a very pretty game. You trick 



me into letting them ransom themselves, 
and you of course expect them to lend you 
money enough for your own ransom. All 
three of you go free, and I am left to 
become wise with three bits of parchment 
instead of three stout slaves worth twenty- 
five ducats apiece!" 

"Merchants ransom me?" howled Mes- 
ser Duardo. "May the Saracens tear my 
hands off entirely if such a thing can be! 
I am a soldier. I ransom myself, you 
thrice-damned Venetian cannibal!" 

He was admirable in his effect. The 
slave-dealer scowled at him and consid- 
ered. "Who are you?" he finally de- 
manded. "Are you a noble?" 

"Of the lesser nobility. I am a soldier 
and a crusader, captain of a great com- 
pany, and a man of substance. I must be 
on my way to help in the succor of Acre. 
These two I have known in Genoa," he 
lied easily. "They can pay. When you 
have finished with them, I will deal with 
you." 

Again the slave-dealer considered. At 
last he said, "Stand to one side, you 
three. When I have finished buying these 
swine here, I will think about you." 

He walked down the lines of Moors and 
Christians, examining, testing, shrewdly 
estimating, and finally making a bulk offer 
to the admiral of Messer Dandolo's galley. 
It was greeted with derision and refusal, 
and the familiar vituperative bargaining 
followed, with a last resigned shrug as the 
dealer agreed to raise his price a trifle, and 
sent a trusted servant for his money-bags. 
Another marshalled the slaves in separate 
gangs and marched them across the market 
and out of sight to the corral where they 
would huddle in acute discomfort and 
filth until purchased. Back to the waiting 
three came the merchant, outwardly de- 
jected, but gloating inwardly at having 
swindled the admiral out of several hun- 
dred ducats by making the lowest price on 
record for such sturdy slaves. 

Sitting down upon a bollard at the edge 
of the wharf, the Venetian studied Messer 
Duardo and his companions. The mer- 
chants looked what they were, cringing 
traders with no souls outside their profits, 
and grudging even the price they must 
pay to escape a servitude more or less 
certain to end in slow and painful death. 
They were flabby fellows, unused to hard 



THE SWORD OF CAPTAIN DUARDO 



21 



work. One gruelling spell at the oars 
would certainly polish them oft'. Unless 
somebody bought them for house-servants 
— he grinned to think they would certainly 
be made eunuchs by any Moor rash 
enough to risk having them around — they 
would be useless except in a counting- 
room or bank. No Moor was likely to en- 
trust any of his business affairs to gentry 
of their ilk unless he wanted to keep his 
books on the new rigmarole called double- 
entry which the Genoese had just in- 
vented. No, better let them ransom them- 
selves if they could. He would get more 
in the end. But this blowhard soldier fel- 
low was another matter. Here was clearly 
a fighting man, strong, hardy, already cut 
up by work at the oar, yet still full of fight. 
He should bring a first class price. 

"Hark you," said the Venetian, coming 
out of his brown study. "I have only your 
words that you can pay." 

"Fool!" snapped back Messer Duardo. 
"Do you think a Pisan would leave any 
Genoese prisoner more than his shirt? If 
we still had our purses with us, we would 
not be here talking to you now. Each of 
us will give )'ou a writing to the bankers 
in Genoa. In six weeks you will have the 
money back. Meantime you can lodge us 
for very little." 

"And have you desert in time to stop 
my payments ! " 

"Word of a Genoese noble!" Duardo 
replied, making the sign of the cross. 
"Remember I am a crusader." 

The Venetian considered. "That might 
do if you were on a Crusade, but this is 
private. Anyway, these two are not cru- 
saders." 

"No," one of the pair replied, rousing 
sufficiently to assert himself, "it is true 
we are not fighting men or crusaders ; but 
singly or together we are able to raise any 
ransom within reason. How much ?" 

"How much is your capital ?" 

The spunkier of the Genoese scowled. 
"Enough. But I have a wife, five children, 
a sick mother, and — " 

"One hundred gold ducats from you, or 
Genoese gold lire to the same value." 

"Mother of God!" cried the startled 
merchant. "Am I the Republic of Genoa, 
to pay such a ransom ? I am not even the 
captain of a company, like my good friend 
here, the noble Messer Duardo." 



"Can he not raise an hundred ducats?" 
the Venetian suddenly demanded of 
Duardo. 

"How do I know? I am no merchant." 
He grew formidably surly. "Do you know 
the value I would put on your carcass if 
I had you in Genoa where you have us 
now?" He paused, but the astonished 
slave-dealer had no imagination. "I would 
offer you to any who would buy as poor 
dog-meat, for one-half of one ducat ! As a 
slave you would bring nothing!" 

"Why, you son of a million she-asses, 
I'll sell you to the mines for that! Digging 
salt will teach you manners even quicker 
than pulling an oar." 

"And cheat yourself," snapped Messer 
Duardo. "I thought Venetians were smart. 
You talk like a fool. Have done," he 
added harshly. "Take eighty ducats for 
both these merchants. I will pay you fifty 
for myself. If you sell us, you get perhaps 
twenty-five apiece. Let us ransom our- 
selves, and you get almost double." 

The Genoese who had not spoken 
opened his lips, but Messer Duardo cut 
him off with a sharp gesture. "Let be! 
This great businessman is considering 
whether he will let his lust of vengeance 
get the better of his lust for gold. Nobody 
but a fool would even think about it for a 
moment." 

The Venetian stared hard at him. "I 
could cut your throat neatly, and nobody 
to say me nay." 

"Go ahead, Venetian! Better to die 
quickly at the hands of a cowardly mud- 
worm than slowly at a Saracen oar. If 
you want to cheat yourself, do it. I cost 
you perhaps five or six ducats. Think how 
long it took you to make all that money; 
how much longer it will take you to make 
it again when you have finished me. If I 
had my sword, the devil would instantly 
have another imp!" 

"I believe you," the Venetian said 
slowly after another pause. "I do not 
know you Genoese, but I know men fairly 
well. Nobody who was altogether a liar 
would dare to talk to me as you have 
talked. I will ransom you at fifty ducats. 
You are worth more, but you say truly 
that I could not sell you for so much. 
As for these two — hmmm. No, not eighty. 
If they are really good merchants in Genoa, 
I must have fifty each for them too. A 



22 



ADVENTURE 



merchant should be worth even more in 
ransom than a soldier." 

Both Genoese cried vehement protest. 
The Venetian waved to an attendant 
standing nearby. "Put these two fellows 
in with the other Christian slaves in the 
small pen," he commanded as the man ran 
up. "This gentleman comes with me." 

"No, no, no!" shrieked the merchants. 

"AH my substance was in this venture 
for Syria," cried the younger. "I cannot 
raise fifty ducats so quickly." 

"It is a fortune," wailed the other. 
"How shall I get it at all?" 

"Give me your writings or go with the 
others. If this soldier who is only a cap- 
tain of crossbowmen can raise fifty ducats, 
merchants can raise ten times as much. 
Take them away, Andrea." 

Again the attendant laid hands on them 
roughly. The Venetian smiled as they 
groaningly agreed to pay. "And besides 
the ransom, you will pay me board and 
lodging until the money comes," he added. 
"That will be two soldi a week extra, so 
send for enough. Come." He led them off 
to the dingy waterfront ruin that served 
him as dwelling, office and slave-pens. 

MESSER Duardo emerged 
from the laborious business of 
writing a draft on Signor Fed- 
erigo Santorini completely ex- 
hausted. He had some ninety-odd ducats 
on deposit at interest, but whether or not 
the banker had invested them in some of 
the various loans of the Republic which 
would be hard to raise money on in a 
hurry he could not even guess. And this 
damned business of scrawling letters on 
parchment with a quill so much tinier 
than sword or dagger that it was no fit 
thing for a man's hand, was something 
for mumbling priests or for clerks who 
could not muster the courage to be men. 
Phew ! Well, it was done. He was a beggar 
now, he supposed, but beggar or not, he 
was at least free on parole, as a gentleman 
must be in such circumstances. He could 
have the run of the town, while the luck- 
less merchants had to consider themselves 
prisoners and keep within the bounds of 
the Venetian's crowded quarters. Fifty 
ducats was a fortune to pay for freedom 
that was likely to end abruptly in the first 
fight he got into; but after all, he was a 




Genoese and a soldier. And six weeks was 
not long to wait. His hands would heal up 
entirely long before that. Unceremonious- 
ly he demanded a loan big enough to let 
him buy some decent clothes such as 
befitted his station. His owner handed 
him a gold piece reluctantly. "You'll be 
wanting a sword next," he grumbled, 
noting the transaction carefully. "Don't 
forget that this loan bears interest." 

"I'll get one," boasted Duardo, his 
spirits rising at the prospect of being 
decently clad again, "and you won't pay 
for it. Armor, too." 

"Not in Rhodes, Genoese ! If the Watch 
catches you with arms, you'll be fish-bait 
in five seconds. Nobody carries weapons 
here but Venetians and some Greeks." 

Messer Duardo laughed derisively and 
strode off toward the mercers' shops. Free 
again ! He was free and his own master. 
In no time at all he would be back at Acre 
and among his fellows ; not, it is true, 
with the stout lads he had enlisted but a 
few weeks before at home, yet sound in 
body and itching for a chance at the 
Saracen to pay off new scores. Now all he 
wanted was to be rid of the vermin-in- 
fested rags he stood in and clean himself 
fitly, don fresh hose and doublet and 
look the man he was. He would make that 
single gold piece do the work of three. 
The sun was brilliant, Messer Duardo 
had a full belly of passable food for the 
first time in weeks, and in the cool distance 
fleecy clouds made a triumphal wreath 
about the cone of Cretan Mount Ida that 
seemed to him an augury of happiness. He 
sang a ribald couplet. For a merchant, 
that Venetian was an easy bit of game for 
a shrewd soldier! Imagine a Genoese be- 
ing taken in by such a braggart piece of 
acting as he had displayed. He laughed 
in sheer high spirits and dove into a 
mercer's with a boisterous salutation. 

Several hours later, steamed out in a 
luxurious bath, fed full once more and 
garbed in colors and textures that be- 
fitted his military pretensions, Messer 
Duardo reclined on the roof of his mas- 
ter's house regaling the trader with san- 
guinary stories of the siege and capture of 
Acre. A soothing ointment the Venetian's 
slave-keeper produced had taken much of 
the pain out of his mutilated hands and put 
his quarrelsome Genoese spirit to sleep for 



THE SWORD OF CAPTAIN DUAHDO 



23 



the moment. The balmy summer night 
was clear and still, the black velvet over- 
head dusted with more jewels than the 
loot of Acre yielded. No soldier but could 
feel the stir of it when thinking of battle, 
and Messer Duardo's tongue \vas loose 
with wine. 

Interrupting with a startled exclama- 
tion, the Venetian leaped to his feet and 
pointed northward to the mouth of the 
large harbor. Dimly in the starlight both 
men could see the ghostly shapes of huge 
winged things floating swiftly and silently 
in one after the other past the mole. 
ominously filling the harbor. There was 
no moon, but the shape of the silent visi- 
tors and the cut of their tremendous lateens 
told the story. Not a sound of any kind 
came from the advancing fleet. Not a rope- 
yarn creaked or a ripple slapped against 
the sharp prows. Not a single figure could 
be seen except for the indistinct blobs 
away aft which symbolized the control of 
each galley. On the roof Venetian and 
Genoese stared, counted and turned to- 
ward each other in consternation. 

"Thirty!" exclaimed each man. "And 



more outside we cannot see," added Mes- 
ser Duardo as a soldier's guess at the re- 
serves such a raid must have to back it up 
in case of necessity. They looked back to 
the harbor anxiously. 

Two by two through the narrow har- 
bor-mouth stood the invaders in perfect 
columns. Once well inside, the leaders 
silently brailed up their great crescent- 
shaped lateens, and crept forward on the 
muffled legs of centipedes, their carefully 
handled sweeps. Deploying in a skillful 
maneuver opposite the principal landing- 
stage, and still totally unexpected by 
sentries who were everywhere either 
heavy with wine or peacefully asleep, the 
raiders moved up ten abreast and nosed 
softly against the wharf. A hoarse shout 
of command rang through the silent eve- 
ning. Tremendous flares flamed into blaz- 
ing brightness all along the defenseless 
waterfront, and a bellow of "Allah! 
Allahn-akbar!" answered the leader's 
shout as the pirates scrambled ashore by 
the hundred. 

Messer Duardo turned grimly to the 
whimpering merchant beside him. "Do I 



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ADVENTURE 




THE SWORD OF CAPTAIN DUARDO 



25 



get a sword now, you son of a goat ? Have 
you got such a thing in this trader's den? 
I'm not going to be captured again!" 

"No, no! We must not fight!" wailed 
the Venetian. "The garrison will do that. 
They will beat these fellows off. Let us 
hide. I have a secret place." 

Messer Duardo spat. "The garrison will 
fight! Surely they will fight! They will 
wake up with scimitars through their 



bellies. How perfectly they have guarded 
the city ! Greeks ! Pah ! No fleet could 
come within a league of Genoa without 
being instantly reported. We might let 
them enter the hornets' nest, but they 
would never get out alive. Greeks ! Gesit 



Rhodes wakened fast to the onset of the 
howling Saracens. A medley of screams 
and oaths, the clash of arms, the sound 
of splintering doors and the tread of rush- 
ing feet swept up to the roof. Unarmed, 
still sore from head to foot, hardly able 
to clamp his fingers about anything with- 
out acute pain, and unable in the emer- 
gency to hunt up any body armor, Messer 
Duardo considered swiftly what he had 
better do. The Venetian had fled precipi- 
tately, gibberipg for his chattels and 
money. It was all very well, Duardo 
thought, as he watched the swirling streets 



Rhodes wakened fast to the on- 
set of the howling Saracens. 




below, to talk of not being captured again, 
but what could he do? Somebody threw a 
firebrand into the house opposite as he 
looked down, and a bright gusli of flame, 
as a straw pallet inside blazed up, showed 
him a Moor black as Othello tearing the 
clothes from a comely young Christian 
woman who had scrambled almost into his 
arms from the window. 

Messer Duardo tumbled halfway down 
the stairs in his rage and eagerness. For- 
getting wounds and weariness, stiff mus- 
cles and lack of body protection, he burst 
out of the house roaring, fell headlong 
over a body at the very door, knocked a 
Saracen flat and found himself in a death 
grapple. He felt as they rolled about in 
the cobbled street as though a dozen 
snakes had twined about him, neck to 
heel. A sudden twist enabled the Moor to 
snatch a heavy dagger from his belt. Be- 



fore he could use it, Duardo gave a mighty 
heave and seized a handful of the wiry 
beard digging into his sorest shoulder. 
With a tremendous wrench, he jerked his 
enemy's head back, and brought his one 
free knee up into the Moor's groin with a 
surge that settled him. Not a foot away 
lay a heavy longsword. The Genoese 
pounced upon it with a shout of exulta- 
tion. Here was something" he understood. 
The fired house was a roaring furnace 
by this time, and the ravisher and his vic- 
tim had disappeared. Messer Duardo, 
forgetting his lack of armor, dashed reck- 
lessly toward the melee raging along the 
main street and in the square. "San 
Giorgio! Genova! San Giorgio!" he bel- 
lowed, hewing his way into the rear of the 
advancing Saracens. Faintly across the 
tumult came an answering shout of "Sam- 
niarco! Vinegia!" 



26 



ADVENTURE 




One! He slashed the head completely 
off a Moor just turning to spit him. Acre 
was no hotter than this. "Sam Giorgio!" 
Two — and a third ! Something struck the 
back of his head. The lights and the shout- 
ing and the struggling figures vanished. 

CHAPTER IV 

THE WHITE MADONNA 

MESSER DUARDO 
watched until the black leop- 
ard with the whip turned to 
swagger aft down the long 
runway between the oarsmen's benches. 
Then he twisted pain-racked lips to whis- 
per to the slave next him at the sweep, 
"What ship is this?" 

"Al-Borak — The Lightning," whispered 
back the Dalmatian, one eye on the boat- 
swain's brutal figure. "Where were you 
captured?" 

"Rhodes," groaned Messer Duardo, in- 
cautiously loud. "I remember the Saracens 
surprising the town, and getting into the 
fight. The next thing I remember is wak- 
ing up in a slave-pen. Sweet Mother of 
Christ, but my hands, my hands !" 

The black was upon him from a distance 
with a swish and vicious crack of the 
lash. Messer Duardo yelped as a piece 
flew bodily out of his already battered 
shoulder, and the blood spurted over his 
companion. The boatswain smiled at his 
marksmanship and the comparatively 
slight damage he had done. "Next time, 
you talkative Christian pig, I'll take an 
eye. I can pick one out at twenty feet. 
This is the great-galley Lightning. Slaves 
row in her; they don't talk." 

Number Seventeen oar swung rhythmi- 
cally backward and forward in a sullen, 
mutinous silence, but it lacked no force 
because of the hate seethiiig in the slaves 
who worked it. Duardo the Genoese at the 
inboard end because of his size; next to 
him a husky Dalmatian ; next to him a 
Slav of hair and features so drab he 
seemed more animal than man ; and at the 
outboard end of the loom a wiry, bitter- 
faced Albanian, made up the four who 
rose and sat, rose and sat to the unceasing 
beat of the time-keeper's drum. Up and 
down the runway the vigilant black 



boatswain paced with his rawhide fangs 
ever ready to bite solid flesh out of any 
who faltered or talked or showed any sign 
of weakening. The galley skimmed over 
the mirrorlike sea at a tremendous pace 
that justified her fanciful title. Where 
she was, and what the southeasterly course 
meant, Messer Duardo could only guess, 
for he dared not speak again. The abom- 
inable throb in his shoulder was warning 
enough. 

His spirits were so low he did not 
notice a brisk wind springing up, and the 
Emir in command rising from his cushions 
to scan the horizon and order sail made. 
A few moments later, when the heavy 
oars were shipped and lashed, and he and 
his fellows could sit and talk quietly as 
the Lightning careened to the wind and 
made even better time, he was too de- 
spondent to answer his companions except 
in monosyllables and grunts. For the third 
time he had been captured. Each time his 
fate was worse than before. Now 
he was truly lost. He had given the 
Venetian a writing for more than half his 
money, and no Moor, seeing his bulk and 
evident strength, would consider freeing 
him for any paltry sum such as he could 
promise. He must nurse his strength and 
live long enough to butcher that black 
fiend. Then overboard if he could before 
they got him. The voice of the Dalmatian 
broke in sympathetically. 

"I understand," he observed, wagging 
a commiserating head. "You decide to kill 
Yusuf ibn-El Fahr, the boatswain. You 
will live for that. Allah! You are new to 
the oar. We all decide that at first. I have 
been at this sweep for two years. Now I 
do not think at all ! Who are you ? You 
are no Venetian or Greek." 

"No," murmured Messer Duardo, 
sketching his story in cautious tones. 
"This time I am without hope. The Vene- 
tian dog has my money and the Moor 
has my body. Christ save my soul. This 
time I cannot help myself." 

Unfeelingly the Dalmatian laughed. 
"You Genoese are all crazy. Lie to the 
man. Give him your writing for what- 
ever he asks for a ransom. Something 
may happen before it comes back marked 
worthless and you are given a hundred 
of the Saracen cure for corns for pretend- 
ing!" 



THE SWORD OF CAPTAIN DUARDO 



27 



"The bastinado?" 

"Yes," was the bitter answer. "I had 
terrible corns. No more now. A slave with 
a bamboo stick kisses the soles of your 
feet with it. After about the thirtieth kiss 
it does not hurt any more, and you have 
no more corns — forever!" He turned up 
his bare feet, and Duardo shuddered as 
his horrified eyes took in the scarred, 
shapeless, gristly, inhuman things .that 
might once have been feet. "The Emir 
Al-Faruk likes to watch this little kissing 
game. When it is over a slave rubs vinegar 
and salt in to bring you back to life. 
Then — Well." he shrugged expressively, 
"don't annoy him or you'll never lead 
your crossbowmen again." 

Messer Duardo's despondency in- 
creased. He glanced up to see Yusuf 
laughing down at him with malevolent 
enjoyment of the object lesson and its 
effects. He vented a few choice Arabic 
obscenities, but though Duardo under- 
stood most of what he snarled, he merely 
bent his head. When the boatswain wan- 
dered off. the Dalmatian approved his 
wisdom. 

"If you had said one word then," he 
declared, "Yusuf would have gone back 
about twenty feet and snicked a piece out 
of the muscle in your thigh, just to remind 
you that he is the master of this galley so 
far as slaves are concerned." 

"I will make him less than a man before 
I kill him," gritted Duardo in a whisper 
the Dalmatian had to strain his ears to 
catch. 



"Bismillah — God willing," he quoted 
the pious Moslem formula, and chuckled. 
"I should enjoy watching that. But I will 
not help you try, Genoese. If you fail — !" 

Messer Duardo was not listening. His 
hands, idly fumbling with the steel belt 
about his waist and the light chain attach- 
ing it and himself to the oak bench, had 
discovered something. His spirits leaped 
up with a bound that dizzied him. It re- 
quired all his soldierly self-discipline to 
keep from shouting his delight. He dared 
not even let his fellows at the same oar 
know that the hinge-pin holding the ends 
of the belt together was loose. When the 
time came he could work it out. Unless the 
black leopard accidentally discovered it 
and had the armorsmith hammer a new 
head on it, he was free at will. Bastinado 
or no bastinado, he would kill that black 
imp of hell who had struck him. He 
would — He settled his haggard features 
back into rigid blankness. The big Light- 
ning swept on with the grace of a petrel. 
His chance might come when they reached 
port. He would kill one more Moor for 
Christ's sake even if they tore him to pieces 
for it. He felt his aching muscles refreshed. 
Even his bleeding shoulder did not throb 
quite so dreadfully. 

FORTUNATELY for the 
slaves, the wind held. If they 
were bound for Alexandria, as 
he was sure they were from 
the course, they should make the run in 
about thirty hours, considering the tre- 




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ADVENTURE 



mendous pace the Lightning was making. 
Nothing he had ever sailed in was half 
so able and swift. He had small idea of 
her speed, but as he glanced overside and 
watched the bubbles hissing past, he 
wished he could capture so birdlike a 
vessel and take her back to Genoa to 
serve as a model. Genoa ! Would he ever 
see those green and gray Ligurian hills 
again? He could kill, anyway. He shot a 
glance blistering with hatred at the whip- 
necklaced boatswain and settled back on 
his hard bench to rest. He must be at his 
doubtful best when the time came. He 
closed his eyes and favored his aching 
shoulder as best he might. 

Eventually he slept. The heavy belt 
about his middle chafed and irritated him. 
It had been made for a man less barrel- 
like of girth, and when Messer Duardo 
turned to ease his cramped muscles, the 
ends bit him smartly. He woke shortly 
after dawn, stiff and surly. Cold had set- 
tled in his wounded shoulder, and the 
slightest movement was agonizing. But 
move he must, to loosen up the muscle 
before it was called into play again at the 
oar. Right ahead lay the African coast. 
He stood up to stretch gingerly, flexing 
one thew after another, at the same instant 
catching a momentary glimpse, as the 
Lightning rode an unusually high swell, 
of a distant city and harbor. A long roll 
of the signal drum roused the crew. Sail- 
ors rushed about on deck. Half an hour 
later the tall lateens went up in the brails, 
the oars were unstopped and the drumbeat 
timing began again, with the black leopard 
boatswain running up and down the long 
gangway amidships shouting and flicking 
at a venture to get the utmost out of the 
straining crews. 

As they swept grandly through the nar- 
row entrance to the port, the bitter-faced 
Greek at the outboard end of the oar 
jerked his head, and Messer Duardo with- 
out losing his rhythm managed to peer 
through the port. Lying at anchor, her 
yards sent down, her twin rudders un- 
shipped, lay an Italian galley, the white 
ensign of Pisa flaring out stiffly from her 
lofty poop. Duardo lost his swing, and 
instantly the black caught him across the 
shoulders with a slash that bit deep. A 
moment later the sweeps held stiffly, and 
the Lightning, curtseying up gracefully 



beside the mooring-stage, stopped without 
a jar. The slaves fell back on their benches 
as the oars came in. The leopard now had 
other work to do. Duardo cautiously 
screwed around to locate that white ban- 
ner. 

A Pisan ! He cursed the fate that 
brought a vessel of that nation into port 
instead of one of his own brethren. Still, 
she was Italian — Christian ; no Christian, 
surely, would refuse refuge to a fellow 
Christian, especially a crusader, in time 
of emergency. She was a fair-sized trader 
from the looks of her, armed, of course, 
as were all merchant craft, but of only 
about forty oars. He marked the spot 
where she lay, a scant two hundred yards 
straight out from the Moorish landing- 
stage. He could find her in the blackest 
night. Again his heart leaped up — sank 
again. A Pisan! Those mercenary dogs 
would not help their own mothers unless 
they were paid for it. As bad as the self- 
important Venetians. And if he killed that 
black son of a camel before he slipped 
overboard, there would be such a terrific 
uproar they probably would not take him 
if he offered them gold. He would have to 
let his kill go for the moment. With the 
chance to escape himself, what did it mat- 
ter if he let that black devil live a little 
while longer? He could not offer the 
Pisans either good pepper, silk or gold, 
but he could give the captain a writing for 
more money than he had left, a lot more. 
Once back on Italian soil again, he could 
make some sort of compromise with his 
rescuer. The important thing was to get 
back. He glanced at the mangled feet the 
Dalmatian had carelessly thrust out before 
him as he sprawled on the bench and de- 
cided against anything but sliding into 
the water that same night. He could swim 
the short distance to the Pisan before 
anyone knew he had gone, if he was quiet 
enough. After that — well, if had to die a 
lot of Pisans and Moors would show him 
the road ! For the first time in weeks, 
Messer Duardo was content. 

With escape or at least a fighting death 
in sight he found the waiting, the pretend- 
ing to sleep, salt in a fresh wound. His 
mates at Oar Seventeen wanted to talk, 
to compare experiences, to learn all about 
him. He was going to get them into 
trouble, perhaps get them flogged to the 



THE SWORD OF CAPTAIN DUARDO 



raw with that frightful knotted whip when 
the black leopard found out he had van- 
ished. He could not talk without betraying 
himself; and he dared not give even the 
Dalmation the slightest inkling of what 
he meant to do. So he affected surliness 
because of his aching shoulder, and feigned 
sleep when every nerve was tinglingly 
awake and alert. 

The rowers' bench and the deck beneath 
it were frightfully hard. He did not have 
to simulate misery to groan and turn over, 
twist and swear from time to time as he 
pretended to sleep and wake, all the time 
using both eyes and his head. He must not 
go overside at his own oar lest he rouse his 
mates and they involuntarily betray him. 
Five oars down someone had left a jacob's- 
ladder trailing over the rail. He watched 
it feverishly all day, dangling loosely. 
How far down did it reach? Could he 
manage to crawl over the sleeping men 
at that oar and sneak down without 
arousing anyone? A nervous chill shook 
him. He opened his eyes to find the black 
leopard glaring down at him ominously. 

"A fine slave!" grated the boatswain. 
" Shivering after two days at the oar ! " 

"Nay, Master," Duardo responded, 
suddenly tactful beyond his wont. "I am 
sore, yes. But the shiver was for fear of 
your mighty arm. My shoulder knows how 
it can strike — like the lightning itself!" 

"By Allah!" gurgled the boatswain, 
pleased with the tribute to his infernal 
prowess from a sturdy Christian. "For 
that T will have the armorsmith give you 
three more links for your chain tomorrow. 
You look a powerful fellow." 

"May the mercy of Allah never cease to 
bless you!" exclaimed Messer Duardo, 
pursuing his advantage. 

The boatswain was thoughtful, then he 
grinned. "Behave yourself, row well, and 
perhaps if we ever need money you can 
ransom yourself." 

THAT night out of one almost 
closed sleepless eye Messer 
Duardo watched every move- 
ment throughout the snoring 
galley. He saw the Emir go ashore with 
some other high officers and stride away 
up the sloping street leading to the citadel. 
He saw the slaves one after another drop 
asleep on their benches or under them. 




heard their chains clank as they turned 
and twisted, felt the loose pin in his own 
belt give as he fumbled with it. The dan- 
gling rope-ladder was still in place. Secur- 
ity in that slumbrous harbor lulled every- 
one. The black leopard had long since 
gone ashore. Nothing stirred save the 
lonely sentinel he could dimly perceive on 
the ramparts of the castle at one end of the 
landing-stage. 

With nervously sensitive fingers he 
worked the pin out of his belt. The iron 
cramp about his waist fell apart, and he 
barely caught it before it clanked to the 
deck. Barefoot he crept, silent as the 
shadows among which he snaked his way 
to the ladder. Not a slave stirred. The 
watch aft idled dreamily against the side 
of the sterncastle, his crossbow unwound 
and not even close to his hand. With his 
heart thumping riotously, Messer Duardo 
whispered a prayer to the blessed San 
Giorgio of Genoa to guard him, and 
slipped over the side. The ladder thumped 
a little against the oaken planks as he 
clumsily crept down. He stopped and 
hung there in the darkness, too much 
shaken to take another rung. A ripple 
lapped against the side with a soft gurgle. 
He put his foot down, feeling for the next 
rung. Nothing there ; the ladder was short. 
He peered anxiously down over his shoul- 
der. Four or five feet below him the dirty 
harbor water moved sluggishly with the 
sheen of oil. He tensed his arm muscles 
and dropped carefully down until his feet 
touched the cool black wet. With another 
prayer he let go. 

Fifteen minutes later he was clinging, 
exhausted and panting, to the forefoot of 
the Pisan. Apparently he had not been 
missed yet. But he could not stay there; 
he must get aboard. He could see lights 
and hear voices. With a spasmodic heave 
he managed to get himself out of the water 
and scrambled up. As he half leaped, half 
tumbled over the fore rail, a startled 
Pisan leaped back with an exclamation 
of alarm and whipped out his dagger. 

Messer Duardo managed an imitation 
of laughter that ill suited his wild appear- 
ance and dripping hair. "Nay, friend — 
neither sea-devil nor ghost, but Italian 
like yourself. Take me to your Magnifi- 
cent Captain." 

"Holy Saint Bartholomew!" exclaimed 



30 



ADVENTURE 



the incredulous Pisan. "Are you armed?" 

"Not yet! Had I arms I would have 
made a eunuch of that black spawn of hell 
who tortured me these two days past I" 

"Step into the light here where I can 
see you. You sound like a damned Gen- 
oese!" 

Messer Duardo moved into the feeble 
square of light shining to seaward from a 
partly opened door in the forecastle. The 
Pisan remained invisible, and called softly 
to Balduccio, Anastasio and Ranulfo to 
come look at what the sea had spat up 
into their laps. In an intstant a ring of 
wicked-looking pikes hedged Duardo in 
closely. He frowned at them. "You are 
wise to be careful," he sneered. "I could 
have led a hundred men aboard before 
you awoke." 

"Genoese!" The Pisans simultaneously 
recognized the proverbial tactlessness of 
their bitterest enemy. 

"Genoese — and a soldier of the Cru- 
sades," retorted Messer Duardo with such 
haughtiness as he could muster, tossing 
back his dripping hair. "Take me to your 
captain at once." Nobody moved or spoke. 
"Fools ! You know what will happen to 
you in spite of your merchants' truce with 
the Infidel if I am missed from yonder 
great-galley, and found on board here. 
Quick ! They may be looking for me now. 
Do you want the bastinado, and a hard 
bench at the oar?" 

"What in hell's name is all this noise?" 
demanded a harsh voice from the shadows 
aft. "Do you want the guardship down on 
us for disturbing the Moors' peace at 
night?" 

Messer Duardo whirled and faced the 
man who emerged into the light, his hand 
upon his sword. He was a lean blond of 
wiry build and a face whose vivid blue 
eyes seemed strangely out of place in the 
sea-tanned leather of features hawklike in 
their ascetic severity. He was not very 
tall or very impressive as to bulk, but he 
had a queer, fiery-cold menace to him 
that bespoke command and more than 
average intelligence. 

Tersely Messer Duardo told his story. 

"Magnifico Signor Capitano," he con- 
cluded, feeling that his plea was falling 
on deaf ears, and that the Pisan was 
planning to turn him over to the guard- 
ship, "I plead with you in the name of the 



Holy White Madonna you of Pisa adore 
and we Genoese venerate. You would like 
to kill me because I am a Genoese. I would 
rather fight you than ask anything of you. 
But after all, we are both Christians. I am 
a captain of crossbowmen, a crusader. 
They will beat me to death by inches if 
you send me back, or make me fight against 
other Christians. If you hide me and take 
me back safely, I can give you a writing 
that will bring you good Genoese gold 
from the banker. I am your prisoner until 
the writing is paid." 

"Hide you, and have you found, and 
lose my ship!" snarled the Pisan. "You 
know these Saracens — what they would 
do to me. Back you go!" 

Messer Duardo glanced quickly toward 
the landing-stage. Nothing moved. No 
lights flitted about. He had not yet been 
missed. Desperately he tried his trump 
card. "You forget pigs," he said quietly. 

"Pigs? What have pigs to do with 
you?" 

"You have a pig on board?" 

"Two pigs. We shall eat them on the 
way home. We sail tomorrow as soon as 
we get clearance from the harbor author- 
ities." 

"Butcher a pig now, and when the In- 
fidels come to search your ship to see if 
I am here, cover me with his pork." 



MESSER DUARDO could 
see nothing funny in it, but 
Pisan sailors and even the 
worried captain first stared, 
then went into muffled paroxysms of 
mirth. Nobody in the world loved the 
Genoese ; everybody fought them by land 
and sea. They carried a chip on each shoul- 
der wherever they went, daring the world 
to interfere with their pleasure or profit. 
And here stood one, an escaped slave, a 
crusader, a captain of crossbowmen and 
evidently a stout fighter from his looks 
and build, begging Pisans to cover him 
with hog-meat ! Buried alive under a pig ! 
What a riotous story that would make to 
tell all over Italy and wherever Pisan ves- 
sels traded ! Messer Duardo and the dead 
pig would be linked in song before a 
month had gone by. 

"For that will I hide you, Messer 
Genoese, if you have money enough to 




THE SWORD OF CAPTAIN DUARDO 



31 



bring me a good ransom," the Pisan cap- 
tain finally said, throwing a nervous 
glance at the Saracenic cruiser dreaming 
at the wharf. "How much money have 
you?" 

"Enough," Messer Duardo retorted. 
He had at last seen through the Pisans' 
amusement, and it was all his fiery tem- 
per could do to refrain from going berserk. 
"Take me into your sterncastle, and we 
can talk. I will give you a writing, and 
your scriba can witness it." 

"Too fast, Genoese, too fast," objected 
the captain. "We all share the responsibil- 
ity — and the torture ! — if you are found 
here. My men have a share in this. It must 
be enough to give every man on board en- 
couragement to get you back to Pisa in 
safety." 

A growling assent from the ring of 
sailors approved his stand. Messer 
Duardo took the chance he had been con- 
sidering for three days, that his draft had 
not been sent to Genoa before the Saracens 
attacked Rhodes. If it had not, he could 
still promise a fairish ransom. His hackles 
rose as he heard sounds from the landing- 
stage, and he decided to risk everything. 
Once safe on Italian soil something could 
surely be arranged. Anyway, no Italian 
would sail back to Alexandria to return 
him to the Infidel. 

"I said enough. I meant enough. Dead, 
I am worthless carrion. Alive in Italy — 
even in your Pisa — I am worth to you — " 
he hesitated, seemed to the eager listeners 
to calculate — "forty gold lire genovesi." 

"Sacred wounds of Christ ! Fifty soldi 
apiece for my men and about five lire for 
me ! You call that a ransom ? Into the 
water with him!" 



Messer Duardo held a protesting hand 
toward the sailors who jumped at him, 
and threw his last atom of spiritual vital- 
ity into a sneer. 

" 'Too fast, too fast !' See what a good 
bargainer your great captain is," he scoffed 
to the crew. "If he is as hasty as this in 
trading with the Moor you will be lucky 
to get anything out of your hardships this 
voyage." 

The captain was afraid to speak loud 
enough to make himself heard above the 
uneasy grumble of the sailors. Messer 
Duardo checked them all. 

"You run no risk at all for me. If the 
Moors come aboard to inspect before you 
sail, or even if they think I may be here 
and come looking for me, they will never 
meddle with pork. Take me home, and 
you get gold, clear profit above your com- 
pany account." 

"But forty lire is fantastic!" sputtered 
the captain. "If you are worth anything 
you are worth twice that." 

"Did you ever earn forty golden lire 
with your sword, you damned trader? I 
earned whatever I have with my sword, 
when the stones and darts were so thick 
we could not see the sun, and the Greek 
fire blazed all about us. Worth ! Of course 
I am worth twice forty lire, worth ten 
times forty lire! But I cannot pay so much. 
Do you want me to give you a writing for 
more than I have in the banker's care?" 
he snarled, with a fine show of honesty, 
that carried conviction despite its trickery. 
"My last word is fifty-five lire genovesi. 
If you won't take that, you may all seek 
your father in hell like the mercenary 
Pisan dogs that you are 1" 

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32 



ADVENTURE 



eddied about the scornful figure that stood 
with folded arms and dignity in spite of 
the cold water dripping from his hair and 
mustaches. The men were evenly divided 
for tossing him back into the water and for 
taking him home. An occasional gurgle of 
laughter at the thought of the butchered 
pig took the edge from a discussion that 
grew fierce at moments. Messer Duardo 
watched and listened with an increasing 
fear sending rivulets of nervousness up his 
cold backbone. They were getting nowhere. 
If the decision was not reached before he 
was missed it would be too late. Every- 
body would pay the Saracens' price of con- 
fiscation and slavery. His anxiety made 
his harsh voice more than ordinarily 
brusque. 

"Signori Pisani, unless you decide this 
thing quickly your ship will be taken, your 
goods confiscated and you will all be at the 
oar in a few hours. Kill your pig quietly. 
Knock him in the head, and then cut him 
up. If we are caught unready — You 
know what the kissing of the feet means. 
Do you ever want to walk again?" 

The captain shot a glance shoreward 
and swore zestfully. "Dog of a lying 
Genoese, I ought to throw you overboard 
and shout for the harbor watch!" 

"Why don't you, Pisan?" sneered 
Messer Duardo. "Come ! Let us fight it 
out among ourselves after we escape. This 
is fantastic. Stun your pig and get to work 
below. Be careful, not too many lights. I 
will give you the writing." 

The command in his voice was so sure 
that instinctively a sailor caught up an 
axe. Messer Duardo led the captain, fum- 
ing and swearing by the bones of the 
Apostles, into the tiny after-house. The 
writing witnessed and sanded and hidden 
most carefully between timbers in the 
sterncastle, Messer Duardo emerged on 
deck, partly dry, fairly comfortable in 
mind, and precisely grateful enough. The 
captain had done a good stroke of business 
if it came off at all, and felt fairly sure 
that the fifty-five golden lire sworn to on 
the draft represented about the last soldo 
Messer Duardo could possibly raise. 

Both men went below, where the sailors 
were busy in the shambles of the tween- 
decks with the carcass of the porker. A 
sharp, clear blast from a distant trumpet 
startled them all. For a second no one 




spoke. Messer Duardo grinned into the 
suddenly fearful faces. 

"How the hornets buzz!" 

Shouts and cries, crisp orders and con- 
fused noises floated across the harbor as 
the Pisans worked desperately to get their 
unwelcome guest covered up before any 
searchers came aboard. 

"Give me a dagger," Messer Duardo 
demanded as he lay down in the huge 
wicker basket-like meat-receptacle on the 
foredeck. "I will not be taken prisoner 
again and suffer the bastinado. Ah ! A 
boat ..." 

CHAPTER V 

SOLDIER OF THE CRUSADES 

THE first ray of dawn was 
streaking the waters eerily as 
the Saracen guardboat hailed 
roughly and came alongside. 
Little knots of sailors were busy at mak- 
ing fresh chafing-gear and splices, others 
at various other tasks preliminary to send- 
ing up the yards and getting ready for sea. 
Most noticeable of all, the butcher and his 
assistants were neatly stowing parts of a 
freshly slaughtered pig in the wicker meat- 
kid forward. 

Gruffly the hard-faced young Saracen in 
command told of a slave's escape. Without 
bothering to ask if the Pisans had seen 
him, he ordered his men to search the ship. 
By twos they swept through her from 
stem to stern. The Pisan captain stood by 
silently indignant but helpless. The Moor 
caught sight of the wicker receptacle and 
strode toward it. "Swine's unclean meat 
for unclean swine of Christians!" he 
snarled. "Allah I" as he gazed down on 
the raw flesh from which little gouts of 
blood were still oozing. He held his flar- 
ing nostrils together and whipped a long, 
double-edged dagger from his belt. "We 
will see if there is anything under it." 
He lunged until the haft of his weapon 
smacked against the unresisting pork. 
Again and again he thrust. Not a sound 
came from the basket. He turned away in 
disgust. The men returned from below 
empty-handed, themselves disgusted by 
bloody mess some of the Pisans were dally- 
ing with in the forward tweendecks. A 
glance sufficed. The slave was certainly 



THE SWORD OF CAPTAIN DUARDO 



33 



not on this galley. More than likely he 
had drowned in trying to swim to safety. 
"Back with you," he barked at his crew; 
and to the Pisan: "Get to sea! You pol- 
lute our sacred air." 

"I dare not without clearance, Magnifi- 
cent One," pleaded the Pisan, shaken by 
mingled eagerness and fright. 

"Filthy dog ! Butcher of pigs ! Send up 
your yards. Ship rudder. Heave short. I 
take the responsibility. This pig smell is 
all over the city already." 

"I hear and obey, Magnificent One, 
murmured the Pisan captain, too much de- 
lighted to make his voice entirely humble. 
"I hope you will not hold it against us that 
we had to have food for the voy — ■" 

The Moor turned with one foot on the 
ladder. "If you throw those pig's guts 
into the harbor, I'll have you all bastin- 
adoed ! " 

He was over the side in a flash, his 
boat skimming away shoreward. Almost 
as quickly eager hands strengthened by 
fright had the cable in and the heavy 
wooden anchor catted, while the oarsmen 
swayed rhythmically to their task, the 
sails filled, and gradually gathering way, 
the Santissima Vergine glided with slug- 
gish motions out past the guardian fort 
on the mole and on into the open sea. Not 
until well into the afternoon, with not a 
sail in sight, and the African coast lost in 
the southern haze, did anyone breathe 
freely. The captain searched the hori- 
zon carefully, crossed himself twice and 
laughed for the first time in many hours. 

"Time for the resurrection ! Dig out 
the Genoese pig — if the Pisan pig has not 
smothered him!" 

Shouting and joking, the men sprang 
to obey. Laying the meat aside, they 
stripped off the weighty pigskin roughly, 
and a frightful caricature of humanity sat 
up and glared at them. Messer Duardo 
was not pretty, but the Pisans enjoyed his 
appearance. The heat had melted the lard 
that clung to the thick skin, and it warted 
him in gouts and gobbets, ran down his 
purpled cheeks in shiny rivulets, stuck in 
his up-ended hair, and encased him from 
head to foot in a slippery coat that streaked 
and mottled him grotesquely. 

"Holy San Giorgio ! " he exploded when 
he finally got a lungful of good untainted 
salt air. "And you laugh !" he roared. The 



Pisans laughed harder than ever. Messer 
Duardo grasped the edges of his wicker 
cage and tried to clamber out. But he was 
a greased pig. and he slipped back, calling 
upon all the saints to let him have but one 
chance at his tormentors. With the galley 
rolling jerkily because of the bad stowing 
of her heavy cargo, each time he stepped 
on the slippery, tacky mess of mingled lard 
and grease and blood, his foot shot from 
under him as he raised the other to thrust 
it over the side of the basket. The Pisans 
rolled on the deck. Most helpless of all 
was the captain, whose laughter turned 
into violent hiccups, which infuriated him 
and added to the uproar on deck. 

Forgotten was all the risk they had run. 
Even the money they would make from 
this amazing rescue was as nothing com- 
pared with the relish of such a Gargantuan 
joke. Messer Duardo stopped his futile 
struggling. With a particularly choice sea- 
blessing, he tore off the ragged fragment 
that served him for trousers, turned it in- 
side out, and managed to get a foothold. 
The next instant he was out on deck, glar- 
ing, naked and glistening in the sunshine. 

Gaily two of the sailors set to work 
with soft soap and sand to clean him. It 
was a mighty task, and as the lye in the 
soap bit deep into his unhealed wounds, he 
bawled in agonies that being sloshed with 
cold salt water did not lessen much for 
some minutes. So tense and anxious had 
everybody been when he came aboard that 
wounds had not been thought of. Now the 
whole crew gathered about him in pity and 
sympathy, crossing themselves and mut- 
tering at the savagery that would inflict 
such abuse on any human being. As they 
worked, now carefully and kindly, Messer 
Duardo displayed a long gash in his right 
side. 

"When that black brother of the devil 
stabbed into the meat I let out all my 
breath and made myself very small, but 
he touched me the first time. Just a hair 
more to one side and his knife would have 
struck bone. Then — " He shrugged elo- 
quently ; the men crossed themselves. 

Some hours later, clothed and made as 
comfortable as might be, with a soothing 
ointment drawing the inflammation from 
his wounds, his shoulder and both hands 
bandaged crudely but effectively, and his 
belly comforted by the Christian meat and 



34 



ADVENTURE 




wine for which he had hungered so long 
in slave-pen and galley, Messer Duardo 
had regained a good deal of his Genoese 
robustiousness. By the time the Santissima 
Vergine reached Porto Pisano and was 
signalled to go on up the Arno to the 
mooring-rings along the levee inside the 
city, he was as unpopular as he had been 
when first he stood on the foredeck of the 
vessel and demanded to be taken home. 

"REMEMBER," grumbled 
the captain after the author- 
ities had cleared the galley and 
**< given permission to unload and 
discharge the crew, "I do not entirely 
trust you, because you are a tricky 
Genoese. You have given me a writing 
on your banker, it is true ; and the Mag- 
nificent Podesta of Pisa has granted per- 
mission that you may wait here until your 
ransom is paid. But we Pisans have no 
cause to love you Genoese. If you have 
any sense you will not go about the city 
talking as you have talked on my ship. 
I do not want you killed after all the 
trouble I have had to get you back to Italy, 
so behave yourself. You will consider 
yourself my prisoner until your banker 
sends me the gold. Come back every night 
to sleep in my house. You cannot escape. 
The watch at every gate will be looking 
for you." 

"Parole of a soldier!" snapped Messer 
Duardo haughtily. "I do not trust you 
but I have to." 

"Ungrateful dog!" 

"Thief of a trader ! Do I have to go 
about this city of cut-throats without even 
a dagger?" 

"By the most blessed Madonna you cer- 
tainly do!" shouted the captain. "Give 
you a weapon and let you wander around 
Pisa looking for a chance to bury it in 
some noble and unsuspecting citizen ? You 
are lucky that I don't have you locked up 
in the Gualandi Tower for safe-keeping ! ' 

Messer Duardo spread both hands in a 
scornful gesture and strode away. Per- 
haps it was just as well after all not to 
show his contempt and hatred too plainly. 
His hands had healed up nicely, far quick- 
er than he had dared hope, and though his 
shoulder was still very stiff from the hole 
the whip had dug in the upper muscle, 
and his slashed rib was still sore, he was 



in excellent condition. The soil of Italy 
caressed his feet and assuaged the bitter- 
ness of his soul. His only worry now was 
whether Messer Federigo Santorini had 
cashed his draft for the Venetian and so 
would be unable to meet this fresh demand 
for funds. 

Mayhap the Venetian had died in the 
Saracen raid on Rhodes and the draft had 
perished with him. Anyway, there was no 
sense in worrying his head about it yet. 
The captain had said a ship would be 
leaving for Genoa in three days. Until 
it returned, Messer Duardo felt like taking 
life as cheerily as God meant it to be 
taken. He cocked his cap at a rakish angle 
and smiled his best at a pretty young Pisan 
standing in a doorway. 

The girl smiled back at him coquet- 
tishly, but he was not thinking in terms 
of dalliance for the moment. With his 
mind fixed upon weapons and a mail shirt, 
he strode on. For the captain to have re- 
fused him weapons was a perfectly natural 
precaution. For the same man to try to 
take them away from him once he had 
them was entirely different. This captain 
might be a blond Tuscan and a stout lad, 
but in fighting he must realize that he was 
a mere soft amateur compared with a vet- 
eran crusader. Pursing his lips into a gay 
whistle that made no sound, Messer 
Duardo wandered briskly on until he 
found what he was seeking. 

"Hmmm," he mused, glancing into the 
little black shop from whose somber in- 
terior came the glow of a forge and the 
clang of hammers. "This will serve." He 
strode importantly in and looked about. 
An old smith, rubbing his grimy hands on 
his leather smock, stepped forward. 

"What does your Magnificence wish 
from me?" he said, bowing low. 

"A blade fit to split Saracen heads with, 
a sound casque lined with good leather, 
and a shirt of the best mail. Oh, yes, and 
a crusader's dagger, long and heavy." 

The armorsmith regarded him closely. 
This time he did not bow. "You must be 
the Genoese the galley Santissima Vergine 
brought in today. They say you were a 
crusader before the Infidel captured you. 
Will you take the Holy Cross again so 
soon?" 

An idea burst dazzlingly in Messer 
Duardo's head. "If God wills it," he said 



THE SWORD OF CAPTAIN DUARDO 



35 



with seeming indifference. "Is Pisa send- 
ing out an expedition?" 

"Is Pisa. . . ?" The armorer bowed 
contritely. "Magnificence will pardon my 
dull wits. I forgot you are but returned 
to Italy this very day. If you will go to 
service in the new Cathedral yonder — " 
he jerked his head toward the distant 
jumble of building and scaffolding where 
the Duomo was beginning to assume im- 
posing proportions around the crypt and 
lady chapel — "you will hear not alone the 
Holy Mass but such preaching of the Cru- 
sade as man never put ear to before. Ahhh ! 
If I were but a young man again ! " 

Messer Duardo laughed at his enthu- 
siasm. "I have been through it all in many 
a hot fight. It is true that I am come but 
today from the galleys of the Infidel. 
While I wait in Pisa for my ransom to 
come from Genoa, I must get me the arms 
of a gentleman." 

"Magnificence will forgive me, but 
swords and mail and stout headpieces do 
not come for nothing to whoever whistles 
after them." 

"Lout ! I am a crusader !" 

"Oh, aye, as to that," retorted the smith 
comfortably, "we all lie when it suits our 
purses or our needs. A crusader is after 
all only a man." 

Messer Duardo concealed his fury and 
caught up a splendid two-edged sword 
lying on a chest beside him. It was a 
cunningly fashioned blade of sweet bal- 
ance, and a weight that exactly suited him. 
Stepping back a pace to clear the old 
smith, he shadow-fenced with it, sprung 
the blade fiercely, brandished it and laid 
it aside. "This is nothing very special," 
he observed critically, "but it will serve 



until I can get my own armorer in Genoa 
to replace my 'Tongue of Flame' that 
the — Well, I will take it anyway," he 
finished lamely, glad he had caught his 
impulsive tongue before it admitted that 
a Pisan pirate had taken his favorite 
weapon. 

"That blade," the smith said slowly, "is 
not for you. Forty years of experience 
have salted it. It is so keen, so true, it 
will rive a man from crown to belly for 
hands that use it well, or with another 
stroke snip lightly through fustian or silk 
from Cathay." 

"A marvel of a blade, truly," scoffed 
Messer Duardo, amused. "You will tell 
me next it was forged to honor his Mag- 
nificence the Podesta." 

The smith shook his grey head slowly. 
"Nay, sir stranger; for one greater than 
the Podesta. This sword was commanded 
of me by no one less than the Magnificent 
Messer Capitano Luigi Scornigiani, the 
valiant corsair." 

"Scornigiani!" cried Messer Duardo, 
his florid face suddenly purple. "Scor- 
nigiani !" 

"Aye, Luigi Scornigiani. With this he 
will hew the heads from many stout ene- 
mies of Pisa. Ah, Sir Genoese! There is 
a man for you ! He — " 

"Now as God is my life," bellowed Mes- 
ser Duardo furiously, "this fellow Scorni- 
giani makes a stink in my nostrils!" The 
blood pounded in his temples, and his eyes 
burned red and strained. "Blood of the 
martyrs, but I will have that sword; and 
if that spawn of the sewers of hell and I 
ever meet, I will flesh it in him until not 
even the crabs of his ocean will be able to 
find all the pieces!" 



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36 



ADVENTURE 




THE smith chuckled at such 
rage and hopefulness. He 
could easily forge a new blade 
before Scornigiani returned 
from his present cruise to spoil Genoese 
merchantmen trading to the Levant. But 
business was business, and this fire- 
breathing Genoese was, after all, a Gen- 
oese. Yet Scornigiani had been overbear- 
ing and contemptuous to him, and he was 
willing to chaffer. 

The trade required an hour before each 
man was exhausted. Then Messer Duardo 
proved his nobility by writing with 
cramped and clumsy fingers a document 
calling upon Messer Federigo Santorini 
to pay certain moneys in golden Genoese 
lire to the excellent armorsmith. Wit- 
nesses were called in and the agreement 
wetted down with a bottle of stout Pisan 
nero. 

In high humor, Messer Duardo put 
on the shirt of mail, a little long in the 
body, for Scornigiani topped him by a 
good three inches, but just the right size 
in the chest, slipped the baldric over his 
shoulder, sheathed his new dagger, slung 
his sword rakishly and clapped on the 
headpiece. 

He was well content. He knew he had 
paid triple the price demanded as a rule 
for such accouterments. But he was not 
safe without them, and if that Venetian 
had really perished at Rhodes as he piously- 
hoped and was beginning to persuade him- 
self, his draft on Messer Santorini would 
not have been presented, and he was safe 
in adding this fresh obligation. Anyway, 
it would be a full ten days before anyone 
would know, and in the meantime life was 
very satisfactory and his belly was very 
full. 

" 'God wills it !' " he quoted to himself 
righteously, fitting the cry of the crusaders 
to his newly acquired arms. He was very 
proud of them. That mail was soft as 
Greek or Venetian brocaded silk, yet it 
could turn a dart, so close was its mesh ; 
and his sword — his fingers tingled to use 
it. 

He would have to find a name for it. 
"Tongue of Flame" had been indeed a 
goodly weapon, but if he knew anything 
of quality, this was yet better. Well, he 
would wait and christen it from some inci- 
dent of its first nse. His fingers played 



around the hilt with the affection of a 
worthy craftsman for his tools. Meantime 
he would stroll down to this new Pisan 
Cathedral he had heard so much bragging 
about as the monument to the great Pisan 
naval victory over the Moor at Palermo. 
It would be time for vespers, and if they 
were really preaching the Crusade again — 
He hummed his favorite folksong as he 
idled along the street with eyes very wide 
open. 

Pisa was still mostly a wooden city, 
with here and there a palace whose lower 
story was built of costly stone. As Messer 
Duardo ambled slowly away from the 
banks of the river where most of the 
palaszi were and threaded his way cau- 
tiously through the dark, narrow, winding 
side streets, the waterfront odors of pitch 
and fish and seaweed gave place to the 
reek of the crowded city. That in turn 
vanished as he emerged at last into the 
great green open square at one side of 
which Messer Bonanno was raising his 
tremendous experiment in architecture for 
the glory of the White Madonna. 

Messer Duardo leaned against a house- 
wall and studied it. He saw a towering, all 
but shapeless choir and one bay of a nave, 
all of it so encumbered with scaffolding it 
was hard for anyone not a master-builder 
to be sure exactly what it was. So this 
was the building they said marked some- 
thing or other new in art, and was draw- 
ing master-builders from all over Europe 
to marvel at it. Hmph ! Just like all other 
cathedrals — big as a castle. Too fancy to 
amount to much in case of attack ; and 
those tremendous slit-windows — why, any 
capable cross-bowman or good balista 
marksman would pour a hail through there 
that would kill off — He stopped with a 
snort and crossed himself devoutly. He 
had forgotten. This was a church, not a 
fortalice. Slowly he started across the 
green toward what seemed the entrance. 
He- had not been to confession for ages, 
but that was certainly not his fault. He 
went in. 

Evening service was in full swing. 
Messer Duardo uncovered reverently, 
touched his fingers to the holy water and 
made his way soberly forward. Yes, there 
were other men in the sacred place who 
carried arms. He felt reassured, and as 
a faint whiff of incense drifted to his nos- 



THE SWORD OF CAPTAIN DUARDO 



trils, he hitched the great sword around 
between his knees and dropped down on 
the end of a bench. The gleam of the 
candles and the glitter of ornaments on 
the sacred images; the soft, oriental per- 
fume of the smoke eddying upward in blue 
spirals from the silver censers in the hands 
of the little red devils — so he thought of 
the impish acolytes — before the high altar ; 
the scarlet and purple, black and fine linen 
of the ecclesiastical dignitaries, all moved 
him deeply, and his pagan soul responded 
freely to the solemn Gregorian chant. It 
was good to be here, by God! Those 
damned Infidels had nothing to comfort 
a man's soul like this. He fell into a 
reverie, far from religious but w-holly 
placid. 

A sudden stir in the choir roused him. 
With great dignity a mitred Archbishop 
was moving forward and ascending the 
tribune. The brilliance of his stole and 
the towering gold and white mitre crown- 
ing him, made the old man a splendid 
figure. And when from between his white- 
bearded lips rolled out a thrilling diapason 
bass, Messer Duardo almost cried from 
sheer emotion. Here was a man, truly a 
man, with a voice like the thunderof a 
city being stormed. He began to listen. 
What such a voice had to say must be 
worth hearing. 

The Archbishop was an orator. His 
first words rang through the vast shell of 
the Cathedral-to-be with the ferocity and 
authority of a passion that nothing could 
restrain. " 'God wills it!' " he cried, fling- 
ing wide his arms. The audience sat 
gripped by the sheer power of the man. 
His voice rose and fell, stormed and plead- 
ed, argued and persuaded with every wile 
and artifice known to the speaker trained 
to affect his listeners to the uttermost. 
Under his spell the congregation wept and 
moaned, exclaimed aloud and swayed in 
its seats. 

Messer Duardo, hardened sinner that he 
was, gave himself up completely to the 
luxury of this emotional orgy. 

" 'God wills it !' " thundered the prelate 
again, rising to fiery climax. "He wills 
that we destroy this defiler of our most 
sacred places. He wills that we extermi- 
nate him root and branch from the Holy 
Land, from the seas where he preys upon 
our noble commerce, from the cities where 



his pagan presence is an outrage of Chris- 
tianity. Who will take the Cross? Who 
will avenge the insults this blasphemer ha3 
put upon our beloved sweet Christ? Who 
here is man enough to prove himself in the 
Holy Wars?" 

He was not allowed to finish. A score 
of young stalwarts leaped up and pressed 
to the foot of the tribune, shouting for 
the Cross. 

Messer Duardo suddenly felt his heart 
turn with the old fire, the old lust of battle, 
the familiar smells of blood and burning. 
There would be joyous looting for years 
to come for stout hearts and bold hands. 
His savings gone, here was his chance to 
win a competence all over again. The idea 
the innocent query of the old armorsmith 
had given him flowered suddenly. With 
a bound, Messer Duardo stood before all 
the rest, holding his sword aloft in the 
crusaders' manner, hilt upward as a sym- 
bol of the Cross. 

"I take the Cross for the third time!" 
he bellowed. "I was at Acre. I was first 
on the walls. I have just escaped the gal- 
leys of the Moor. I take the Cross!" 

Messer Duardo dropped devoutly 
upon his knees. 

HALF an hour later he came 
out of the Duomo, the Cross 
blazing upon his mail, and 
lying, as only a seasoned cam- 
paigner can lie, of his conquests. The 
newly sworn crusaders eyed him respect- 
fully, examined his scars with awe, shook 
their heads over his blood-curdling tales 
of Saracen galleys and tortures, and hint- 
ed darkly at what they would do in their 
turns. One suggested that they crack a 
bottle over their new comradeship. Noth- 
ing loath, Messer Duardo drank and spat 
and lied lustily with them until the moon 
shone through the bottles and the moun- 
tains of dead Saracens all about the place 
tainted the air of even the sodden drink- 
ing-booth. 

Well pleased, Messer Duardo stumbled 
his way home, singing with more boister- 
ousness than music. He was not entirely 
comfortable in mind over his escapade as 
he finally, after getting lost three or four 
times, came to the captain's rather forbid- 
ding looking house not far from the 
Arsenal. 




ADVENTURE 



The captain was waiting for him in any- 
thing but a pleasant frame of mind. Half 
a square away he had heard him approach- 
ing. 

Messer Duardo grinned foolishly and 
thumped himself a resounding blow on 
the chest as he stood before his grim and 
silent host. 

The captain looked harder — leaped up in 
a fury. 

"Drunken liar of a Genoese! Fool! 
Cheat ! You have taken the Cross ! Who 
gave you that sword?" 

"Peace, little man! Peace!" Messer 
Duardo slid the thirsty blade half out of 
its scabbard. "I am no liar, neither a 
cheat. Nobody gave me my sword. I 
bought it for a writing on my banker. 
So did I also buy this stout mail that will 
turn many a Saracen arrow and scimi- 
tar—" 

"No cheat! No cheat!" screamed the 
captain. "The writing you gave me is 
hardly dry, and you take the Cross!" 

"What of that?" Messer Duardo re- 
plied. "I worshipped in the Duomo. Some 
Archbishop preached the Crusade. I have 
always been a crusader. I took the Cross, 
surely. Just my example — two score stout 
fellows came forward for the avenging of 
the insults to our sweet Christ. 'God wills 
it,' Messer Capitano." 

"No, by San Vitale ! You shall not 



go! I will not be cheated of your ran- 
som!" 

Messer Duardo waggled a dirty finger 
at his host. "Nobody is cheating you. 
You have my writing." 

"I'll go to the Archbishop! I'll pre- 
vent your sailing until your money comes 
safely from Genoa ! " 

"Don't be a fool. I have sworn. The 
Cross is on my mail. The writing is good ; 
the banker is good." He came fully into 
the light, and smote the captain on the 
shoulder with heavy jocularity. "I would- 
n't cheat the man that saved me for any- 
thing ! You just wait a few days for your 
money, that's all. We start in three or 
four days. And come back — rich! I'll 
give you a share when I get back. Going 
to bed now." 

He passed into the house. After him 
stared the captain, his face black with bit- 
terness and frustration. It was true. He 
could do nothing to hold back one who had 
sworn before the Church to war on the 
Infidel. He had been cheated, tricked. 
He should have known a Genoese was 
without honor. 

"Blessed Mary Virgin, Mother of God," 
he muttered, scowling after the feet that 
clumped solidly up the stairs, "if ever I 
help a lying, deceiving Genoese again may 
I never more put to sea, but drown in a 
mud puddle!" 





-Q> N o v oW Xi , ... 



POPULAR 



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motors, reassembles and sells them at exorbitant 
prices in South America. In cracking the case, 
Rigby tangles with beautiful cabaret singer 
(Ava Gardner), her drunken husband (John 
Hodiak and several assorted villains. Payoff 
comes when Rigby orders a raid on the plant 
which he has discovered, and shoots it out with 
the leader of the gang (Vincent Price). 



39 




GRANDMA 
WAS A LADY 




By JOHN PRESCOTT 



40 



THE summer air ceased shaking and 
the broad river no longer echoed the 
strident wailing of the engine. The 
beautifully vicious race boat — Stanford 
Marine's new Gold Cupper — glided into 
the pier, and a smile cracked Jock Stan- 
ford's crusty face. 

"Well, now, Georgie," he said to me. 
"Ain't that something?" He ran his hand 
through the shock of white hair and pulled 
at his red nose. He said it again, nodding 
his head slowly and smiling. "I think I'll 
call her Typhoon. She's a world-beater." 
I didn't say anything to that. I was 
down on my hands and knees on the rough 
planking of the pier waiting to fetid off 
the bow as it swung in, and keeping an 
eye on Chugger Brown in the cockpit of 
the boat. Chugger shifted his bulk and his 
dark face frowned disapproval. Beneath 
the engine hatch I could hear the big Alli- 
son hissing and spitting. 

"Well?" Jock asked. The affability was 
gone from his voice and he seemed 
browned off that Chugger wasn't leaping 
about in glee. 

Chugger was deliberate in removing the 
derby and mopping at his hairline with a 
crimson handkerchief. 

ILLUSTRATED BY 

41 



"She's all right," he said laconically. He 
pushed the handkerchief into the pocket of 
the coveralls and looked up at Jock. 

"She's all right," he said again. "For 
sprints anyway. I don't know if she'd last 
a Gold Cup heat or not; let alone three 
of them." 

He wrestled out of the life-jacket and 
carefully replaced the derby as he stepped 
up to the pier, where he paused, towering 
over Jock. The breeze was around behind 
him and I could smell the alcohol and cas- 
tor oil in his clothes. 

"I think we ought to let this thing grow 
up," he said to Jock. "She's hotter'n the 
door-knob on hell's main gate, but I don't 
know that I'd trust her very far. These 
new jobs ought to have a few months in 
engineering." 

Jock's cheeks puffed up with air and his 
faded blue eyes bulged a little. 

"What in hell do you think I got this 
thing for?" he asked. "Every guy in the 
circuit's got one of these now. If I stick 
her in the shop, then where in hell will we 
be?" He prodded Chugger's thick arm. 
"I bought Typhoon to win races with. The 
country's flooding with three-point sus- 
pension boats and I aim to be right out in 

CHARLES DYE 



42 



ADVENTURE 



front with the rest of them. And starting 
this week-end at Chicago." 

Chugger didn't seem to be listening. He 
was looking out over Jock's head; up 
along the broad pier, beyond the welter of 
cruisers and runabouts in the basin, to the 
wide sprawl of the Stanford Marine Yard 
buildings. I followed his gaze, sensing 
where it was going. Up through the ware- 
house walls, to the big, timbered rack 
where old Nell lay cradled in the dust. 

"We still got Nell," he said. He looked 
down at Jock again, speaking more rap- 
idly. "She's got a lot of speed left in her, 
Jock. That lap record of hers — seventy- 
one — lasted a good while." He glanced 
down at the boat in the water. "She can 
last easily through the season, and then by 
next year we'll have this new one all 
ironed out." 

"Nell can't hold a candle to these new 
jobs and you know it." Jock snapped. 
"She was O.K. at one time, but so far as 
we're concerned she's seen her day. Right 
now, she's just a nice old lady." 

Chugger sniffed. He looked down at 
the rakish lines of the new and shining 
Typhoon, the flaring sponsons and the 
white gleam of the enameled deck plank- 
ing. He sniffed again. 

"Nell's got dignity." he said with a 
faint air of disdain. "And she's got char- 
acter. This thing now. . ." 

Jock reached up casually and lifted the 
derby from Chugger's head. He held it in 
his hands, turning it over and over and 
inspecting it carefully. At length he held 
it by the brim and let it bob and vibrate 
in the air. Chugger's eyes never left it. 

"This damn hat," Jock said, arranging 
his words carefully, "typifies your very 
existence. You're dated. You're resistant 
to change and progress. You and this 
damn hat and that old mahogany has-been 
up in the warehouse. You're all alike, and 
if I let you, you'd do nothing but loaf her 
around every race course in the country." 

He thrust the derby into Chugger's 
greasy fingers. 

"This is a new era, Chugger Brown. 
Nell was damn good in her day; the best 
in the country, and you made her that 
way." His eyes took me in on that one, 
because I was head mechanic around the 
Stanford Yard. "And I expect you to do 
the same with Typhoon," he concluded. 
"This week." 



THAT was all from Jock. He 
walked away, stiff and pride- 
ful on his old, bandy legs. 
Some of the guys from the 
shop who'd stood back, grinning and eat- 
ing it up, closed in and I told them to fuel 
up Typhoon again and to pump out her 
bilge. 

"And check her water pump," Chugger 
said sourly. "She's running too hot." He 
adjusted the derby again and I took his 
arm, feeling a little sorry for him and 
thinking that maybe Jock had been un- 
fair; especially on that off-hand disposal 
of Nell, who, after all, was closer to Chug- 
ger than a blood relative. 

And that in itself made me incline a 
little to Jock's thinking. Nell was a good 
boat, a fine boat, twenty feet of thunder- 
ing mahogany ; but she was old, fifteen 
years, and times were changing. The trend 
was going toward shorter lengths and 
broader beams, with sponsons for lift and 
suspension — and great big power plants 
with single- and two-stage blowers. 

They were new, these boats, still in a 
half-way experimental stage, and this was 
the first season they'd be out in force. 
There was that much to say for Chug- 
ger's doubts, their newness and unproven 
ability ; but at the same time f couldn't 
help but feel that he had somehow got- 
ten his personal feelings mixed up in the 
matter, 

We crossed the street and walked into 
a small, nautical bar called the Annex. The 
bartender drew two beers and we took 
them over to a side booth. Chugger put 
his flat thumb on the rim of the glass to 
hold the foam down, and when it settled, 
took a drink and wiped his mouth with 
the back of his hand. A grease spot 
smeared just under his nose. 

"Well," I said. "What do you think? 
What do you honestly think?" 

Chugger shrugged and toyed with the 
glass. 

"She's a winner," he said. "But like I 
said. For a short haul. But she ain't 
dependable. She — well, she ain't like old 
Nell." 

Old Nell. There it was again, and now 
I was sure. He was all wrapped up in a 
private prejudice. 

"This new thing," Chugger went on, 
"is like a sleazy dame that's all ginned up. 
You never know what in hell she's going 



GRANDMA WAS A LADY 



43 



to do next. You ought to have time to 
find out." He took another pull at the 
beer glass. 

"I don't think she can stand the gaff 
for a long race. That Chicago race will 
be three thirty-mile heats. Jock ought to 
know better than to buy a new boat one 
week and try to race it the next. I don't 
think she can make it." 

But old Nell could, he would be think- 
ing. Old Nell could, and when it was all 
over she would come staggering over the 
line way in the rear of everything else on 
the race course. I began to lose patience 
with him, the way Jock had back on the 
pier. 

"You don't even know," I said. 
"You've only driven her for a couple of 
five-mile heats. Come on, swill that thing 
down and let's go back to the pier. Ty- 
phoon's gassed by now, and you can take 
her around for thirty. And then we'll see 
what's what." 

He shrugged again and upended the 
glass, tilting his head back to drain the 
last of it. His old derby was back on his 
head and there was a little patch of his 
black hair plastered on the sweat of his 
forehead. When he put the glass down 
he moved the derby forward and we got 
up and walked back across the street to 
the pier. 

He didn't say anything when he dropped 
down into the cockpit and shuffled around 
settling himself and getting the life-jacket 
on. I kind of wished he'd wear a crash 
hat. but he never had, not even in Nell, 
and I knew he wouldn't pay Typhoon a 
tribute by starting with her. Among other 
things, he believed in his own indestruc- 
tibility. 



He sat in there quietly for awhile, turn- 
ing the gas on, setting his throttle and 
adjusting the blower, and I looked out 
over the water, which was ruffled with the 
light breeze and blue and shining with the 
sun and the clear sky. The course was 
plainly marked, a five-mile rectangle set 
off on, either end with big, orange buoys. 
The stretches were long, nearly two and a 
half miles on a side. 

After a couple of minutes Chugger nod- 
ded and I dropped down on my hands 
and knees on the pier to fend him off. I 
put my hands on the white deck and when 
the Allison boomed I could feel the trem- 
bling all the way up my arms and down 
my back and legs until it grounded into 
the pier. 

Chugger nodded again and I shoved him 
away, and I could see him engaging and 
easing the throttle up. The water behind 
the transom, which had been only faintly 
roiled and agitated, suddenly sucked down 
and then exploded aft in a white torrent 
as the screw turned over. Typhoon went 
away with a roar, throwing her white bow 
high to the sky and slowdy bringing it 
dow-n again as she gathered speed. And 
the white torrent became a wide swath of 
foam on the river, with a high flinging 
ridge of spray rising out of the center of 
it like a rooster tail. 

He took her straight out at slightly be- 
yond half throttle and angled off to the 
right onto the course, down toward the 
down-river turn. He swept it in easily, 
taking it wide and giving her a short blast 
on the far side to broadside her around 
to the far straightaway. On the stretch 
she picked up speed and after a minute or 
so I heard the scream of the blower, the 




THEY'RE PROMOTING JIM TO 
THAT JOB I WANTED -THAT'S 
THE SECOND TIME 
THEYVE PASSED 



ME BY- 1 OUGHT 
TO QUIT 





JOHN -JOHN" JOHN-CANT YOU HEAR? 
DINNER'S READY! MAYBE 

1 THAT'S YOUR 

/S^\ TROUBLE AT 
/ ^~r THE OFFICE 



mEt!g«wTEST! 



DO IT NOW! . 



Maybe i very slight heating defect is holding you back 
—like thousand* and thousands of others— why 

JJ^HouwfcepWJ PRIVACY OF TUWR 

" 'm>ws^S^ **"* "" "•* » dd "* J "' "" ■"• " upon w 



Please tend me WITHOUT OBLIGATION OP 
| ANY KIND your free Home Hearing Tail 



44 



ADVENTURE 



high, wailing woo-o-o-o-o, rising above 
the flat blast of the engine. 

Chngger went into the turn fast, and 
the white and shining water flashed up 
high behind him as the sponsons tripped 
in the slide. She came out fast, going like 
blazes, wide open and flat out, just skitter- 
ing over the water and the big Allison 
screaming like hell's own calliope. She 
came down toward the pier in a wild fren- 
zy, small and obscure for a few short sec- 
onds, because it was at least a mile from 
where she blew out of the turn ; and then 
big and gleaming in the sun and spray, 
like the swift cut of a saber or a flash of 
lightning across the black sky. 

She was frightening in her speed, and 
mean and maybe treacherous; somehow 
remote and with a malevolent purpose to 
her existence. She was not friendly and 
amiable like Nell — and for a second I 
thought I could feel what Chugger did. 
No character. And then he hammered by, 
shattering the air and vibrating the pier 
way up in the high nineties. He went by 
the end and I put the clock on him. 

I WATCHED him go full out 
on those six laps, those thirty 
miles, running wild like a mad 
thing on the stretches and gey- 
sering the high sheets of sun-drenched 
spray and water on the turns. And Chug- 
ger rode her hard, taking all she would 
give, sitting high up and bulging in the 
cockpit, with the derby looking like a 
black button against the white of the deck 
and the background of the spray. 

And after a while he wasn't riding 
Typhoon, but by some trick of the eye it 
was Nell out there instead. She was lop- 
ing along in those stretched out power- 
packed strides, her smooth mahogany hull 
shining white, then golden, then brown as 
the polished planking caught the brilliance 
of the sun and the sparkling reflection of 
the water. 

And somehow too, I could see Chugger 
in the cockpit, laughing and talking to her 
and having the time of his life as she 
howled over the low chop and threw up 
the water in the broadsides ; and ran the 
long stretches almost full out of water, 
with only her screw and transom making 
contact. But my mind came back and 
Nell returned to the dust of her timbered 




rack, and it was Typhoon out there, rais- 
ing her high woo-o-o-o-o to the south 
wind, and Chugger was in the cockpit, 
driving hell out of her, but not enjoying 
it at all. 

He ran the full six, crossing the pier 
in a white sheen of spray on the last, and 
took an extra at retarded throttle to bring 
the engine down out of the clouds. Ty- 
phoon came in to the pier, hissing and 
sputtering and casting heat tremors up 
from her engine hatch. I caught her bow 
and swung her around so Chugger could 
get out, and when he was up on the pier 
again, stretching his back and rubbing his 
legs I showed him the watch. 

"Nell never came near this," I said. 
"She was a good six miles per hour short 
of it in her prime." He stood up, run- 
ning his hands over his kidneys. "What'd 
it figure out to?" he asked. 

"A little over seventy-seven for an aver- 
age." 

Chugger nodded disinterestedly and 
stooped down over the cockpit of the boat. 
He took my arm and pointed at the row 
of temperature gauges. 

"Look at that," he said. "They're high- 
er'n hell." 

I looked at them. They were high, high- 
er than they ought to be; almost up to 
the red. 

"The water pump?" I guessed. It was 
my business to know about those things, 
and given another few weeks I would 
have. But she was so new I had nothing 
to go on except what we learned from her 
in performance checks. 

Chugger made a vague motion with one 
hand and tipped the derby back with the 
other. 

"I don't think so," he said. "It's just 
the whole damn business." He said it 
again with emphasis. "She's got bugs that 
got to be worked out. And that takes time. 
Only thing I can think of right now is to 
take that blower off." 

"You do, and your head comes with it." 
It was Jock. How he'd crept out there 
without us knowing was beyond me. But 
he was there and he'd heard Chugger and 
he looked as sore as I'd ever seen him. His 
blue eyes didn't seem faded but looked 
more like they were all iced up, and his 
white hair seemed all bristly like a dog 
gets at the back of the neck. 



GRANDMA WAS A LADY 



45 



Chugger looked at him for a silent mo- 
ment, then moved his big hands up and 
rested them on his hips. 

"She'll never last three heats, Jock," he 
said. "She'll unravel sure as hell. And 
I ain't just speaking about the engine ; I'm 
thinking of the whole damn thing. She 
shakes and shimmies and sunfishes like a 
bronco. Take off the supercharger and she 
might make it. She won't burn up then, 
maybe." 

Chugger reiterated that sleazy dame 
theory, which he kind of liked, and then 
launched off on another tack. Jock stopped 
him. His voice was all tight and wheezy, 
more so than I'd ever heard before. 

"So she's all ginned up like a young 
dame," he said. "And I suppose you want 
to stick the blower on Nell. Is that what 
you want?" 

Chugger protested. "No. I never 
said. ..." 

Jock cut him off again. His blue eyes 
were all iced over now, and there was 
no stopping him. 

"Well, if you think Typhoon's all 
ginned up with it, you might as well give 
your favorite living grandmother a quart 
of rotgut whiskey as to stick the blower 
on Nell. You'd get the same results. She 
wouldn't last five laps." 

Chugger's big hands fluttered appeal- 
ingly, but Jock ignored him and turned to 
me. 

"We're going to Chicago Saturday, 
Georgie. And we're going to win." He 
scowled at both of us, and his white eye- 
brows came together over his nose like a 
wide chalk mark. "Understand?" 

He stalked away again and Chugger 
stood there just shaking his head sort of 
helplessly. 

"I never said nothing about that at all," 
he told me. His voice became querulous. 
"What in hell's the matter with him. any- 
way? He never behaved like that before." 

I didn't know, but I was beginning to 
get an idea, a thought. It was a bad thing, 
the kind you don't like to see a good guy 
like Jock get into, but I knew with his 
temper and impulsive nature he'd be a set- 
up for it. 

"I'll be right back," I said to Chugger. 
"Want to take her out again?" 

Chugger shook his head. "No, I guess 
not. If he's so damn set on Chicago, we 



better spend some time on her insides." 
He flipped an arm at the guy on the der- 
rick, and as I turned to walk up to the 
main building I heard the snorting of the 
donkey-engine as it lowered the slings to 
the water. 

I do not know if Jock had been chew- 
ing his finger nails or not, but when I 
walked into his nicely paneled office he 
was slouched behind his broad desk and 
he looked guilty. I put my hands on the 
cool glass top and leaned across toward 
him. 

"Check Lamont," I said. 

He looked at me silently, and then down 
to his calloused hands. 

"Yeah," he answered. "Check La- 
mont." 

"How much?" 

"Fifteen grand on whatever we put up 
against him. Payoff at Chicago." 

"When did all this happen?" 

"When I was out on the West Coast 
dickering for Typhoon. About a month 
ago. He got one just like her, built by the 
same people; only he's had her about six 
months and I didn't know that." 

"So he maneuvered you into a bet, 
knowing that you very likely wouldn't 
have the time to get Typhoon in top form 
by the time the Chicago race came up." 

Jock nodded ruefully. "Yeah," he said. 
"That's just about how it happened." 

I sat down heavily in a deep leather 
chair. Check Lamont. Check Lamont was 
the kind of a guy who would go to an 
Irishman's wake for the express purpose 
of taking pennies from the dead man's 
eyes. He was that bad, and more, he was 
something of a boozer. There was noth- 
ing but meanness in him. 

He'd been racing the boats for a long 
time, nearly as long as Jock Stanford, but 
he was never a credit to the sport and 
always looked at it as a source of some 
kind of personal gain. And he'd never 
missed a chance to take a swing at Jock. 

"That's a stiff jolt," I said. "Supposin' 
he comes through." 

I didn't see how he could miss if things 
were the way they seemed, but I didn't 
want to say it right out. 

"I'm pretty well over-extended," Jock 
said more or less to himself. "We've done 
a lot of building around here this year; 
and then too, I bought Typhoon." 



ADVENTURE 




"It's that bad, huh?" 

Jock nodded and looked up at me. 
"Don't tell Chugger about it," he said. 
"I was pretty hard on him out there and 
he'll have enough on his mind without 
knowing that he's got a good deal of Stan- 
ford Marine Company riding on his nose 
besides." 

"I won't," I said. I figured that if 
Chugger found out he'd probably fill that 
derby of his with rocks and sink it right 
down to the bottom of the river. 

DURING those few days that 
remained before we left for the 
Chicago race we did what we 
could to make Typhoon what 
she ought to be. There's an awful lot in 
1710 cubic inches of Allison engine, and 
I used up all my experience and a lot of 
guess-work to boot. Chugger helped a lot, 
but his attitude evolved from a foregone 
conclusion. He was not enthusiastic, and 
every once in a while he'd sneak off to the 
warehouse and sigh at Nell's bier. 

He improved somewhat When we got to 
Chicago and lowered Typhoon into the 
Burnham Park lagoon. There was a lot 
of the old gang there that we hadn't seen 
since the previous season and Chugger 
smiled and told Jock and me that if it was 
only the year before and he was driving 
Nell, there'd be no questions at all. 

But it wasn't the year before, and when 
Jock and I exchanged glances I knew he 
thought the questions were too big and too 
numerous to consider. 

It was half an hour or so to the first 
heat and Chugger was out on the five- 
mile course razzing Typhoon up and down 
the lakefront with the other boats, when 
I saw Check Lamont coming along the 
pits toward us. I hadn't seen him in a 
year, but he hadn't changed. He was tall, 
like Chugger, but not as bulky. He had a 
smooth, boyish face and fair hair ; and he 
was always smiling. There's something 
about that kind of meanness, that smiling, 
pleasant meanness that makes my skin 
crawl. You never know quite where you 
stand. 

"Well, now," he said to Jock, taking 
me in with his smile. "Your boat looks 
pretty good." Chugger was giving it 
what-for along the front stretch, booming 
along in front of us toward the commit- 



tee barge and the big, white-faced starting 
clock. 

"Surprised?" Jock asked distantly. He 
didn't look at Lamont, but kept following 
Chugger around the course with his eyes. 

"No, not entirely," Lamont said easily. 
"I knew you'd have a fling at it. I'm just 
wondering how long she'll last. Three 
heats, thirty miles apiece, is a long haul. 
And the lagoon isn't as smooth as it might 
be. Of course, you've got a break ; only 
two heats today. Last one in the morn- 
ing." 

Jock didn't seem to be listening, or if 
he was he gave no sign of it. But I was, 
and everything he said hit me right in the 
middle. It ivas a long haul, and if it got 
rough it would be like a car going across 
a plowed field at a hundred miles an hour. 
That stuff was bad enough on boats of 
Nell's vintage, although she'd been a damn 
good rough water boat, and my doubts on 
Typhoon, which was lighter and strung to 
a high C, got bigger and bigger. 

Jock turned around with a slow move- 
ment and hiked his wallet out of a rear 
pocket. He pulled out a check and gave 
it to me. 

"Georgie's honest," he said to Check. 
Check's smile didn't change as he passed 
me his own check. 

"He better be," he said quietly, looking 
at me. 

"Now, get the hell out of here," Jock 
said. "You stink up my pit." He was 
facing the water again, and he just 
breathed it out, as though he didn't trust 
himself to raise his voice. 

Check sidled away with a light but men- 
acing laugh and a little while later Chug- 
ger came in and we filled the tanks again. 
He was shaking his head and looking from 
me to Jock. 

"If the wind stays in the west," he 
said, "we might have a chance. But if it 
kicks around and comes in off the lake this 
lagoon'll be rougher than Typhoon can 
take. She's running hot enough now, but 
the wear and tear of heavy going might 
burn her up." 

Jock's face was tight and there were 
little white puckers around his lips. He 
didn't say anything and neither did I. I 
just nodded to let Chugger know I under- 
stood. Above the other noise around there, 
then, I heard the flat slam of the five- 



GRANDMA WAS A LADY 



47 




minute gun, and shortly after, Chugger 
took Typhoon out onto the course. 

THAT first heat was a wild 
thing, but I don't think I ex- 
pected it to be any different. 
There were eight boats, all 
Gold Cuppers, but only three were the 
new ones, Gurney, Chugger and Check: 
and they came down on the starting line 
like a thousand thunderstorms, wailing 
and screaming and roaring and churning 
one whole side of the lagoon into a milky 
froth. 

After they passed the clock and went 
down toward the south buoy I couldn't 
see anything through the blaze of spray 
until they began to slide around the tall, 
orange-painted pylons and hammer out 
onto the backstretch. And even then it 
was hard to pick the leaders because they 
were all bunched up and none of them 
were beginning to break away yet. 

It took them less than a minute to blast 
out from the first turn and skitter down 
to where they were nearly opposite the 
pits. Jock had his binoculars, which he 
raised to his squinting eyes, cursed at and 
passed to me. I took them and watched 
Gurney take the lead, come out to the 
front of the pack and ride blue water. I 
saw Lamont behind him, riding close and 
pressing. 

And Chugger, who seemed nowhere 
around at all, abruptly appeared on 
the other side of Check, staying with him 
all the way up to the north turn. 

Jock stamped and howled and I held 
my breath when they slatted in to the big 
pylon ; and let it out with a whoosh when 
Gurney disappeared in a welter of sun and 



spray and Chugger blew out fast and hard 
on the near side, a bare length short of 
Check's black stern. 

They came down the stretch that way, 
past the pits, past the committee barge 
and into the south turn ; and came out 
again on the other side. Check in front 
with Chugger trailing ; not much, a frac- 
tion of a length most of the time, but it 
stretched out long enough to give the heat 
to Check. 

Jock felt better than he had in some 
time when the three of us went up to one 
of those carnival booths for a hamburger 
and a bottle of pop at noon. 

"By golly," he said to Chugger, "we've 
got a pretty fair chance at that. You got 
a nice, close second, and there's no rea- 
son why you can't beat him in the next 
two heats by the same margin he took you 
this time." 

Chugger munched thoughtfully on the 
hamburger, speaking between bites. 

"I don't know," he said. "I had to work 
hell out of her, and she didn't like it one 
bit. You know, if we had Nell I could beat 
these other dogs ; except Gurney and La- 
mont. And a nice, safe third ain't to be 
sneezed at." 

Jock looked at me, and for a moment 
I thought he was going to tell Chugger 
about the fifteen, but he didn't. He just 
patted Chugger on the back and said he 
was sure doing O K. just the way things 
were. 

"Another thing," Chugger said, "the 
wind's changing. It's swinging around to 
the east." 

I hadn't noticed, but when I turned 
around and looked I saw that it was. It 
had gone around to the south and seemed 




ADVENTURE 



to be creeping over to the east. I could 
see it out on the open lake when the water 
got blue and black when the gusts hit it, 
and even in the lagoon where the little 
catspaws were scratching at the surface 
in passing. 

He was right, damn it. 

He finished his root-beer and we hus- 
tled him back down to the boat for the 
second heat, Jock fussing nervously with 
this and that until the engine turned over 
and sent Typhoon out onto the course 
again ; and into a good race. 

That it was, the best race she ran that 
year. She slithered and skated and howled 
and roared her way across those thirty 
miles with Chugger getting away in front 
and staying there all the way. He was not 
shaded at all that time, and when he 
bounced over the line in a flurry of spray 
Lamont rode two lengths behind. 

And Jock got lyrical and danced and 
shouted, and I guess that I did too; but 
when Chugger swung into the pits I saw 
his face, and my heart lurched and Jock's 
eyes turned black. 

"It's like I said," Chugger remarked 
when the engine died. "I'm afraid she's 
done." 

"She ain't burned up, is she?" Jock 
asked. 

He looked like the whole world had 
caved in. 

"No, but she's passing oil. She needs 
new rings already. Even so, I don't think 
she'll make the third heat. It's getting 
rougher all the time out there." 

"Hell she won't," Jock said, somehow 
buoyed up. "Put new rings in her. You've 
got all night and it's only eighty miles back 
to the Yard." He turned to me. " Vou go 
with him, Georgie." 

Chugger shook his head. 

"I can do it myself. I don't need no 
help for this. And if I do, there's guys 
at the Yard." 

Jock demurred, but Chugger'd made up 
his mind. If it was going to be done he 
would do it himself. That was that and we 
concurred. 



ZT^fc. THE morning dawned bright 
and brisk and Jock and I were 
E^i down at the course early to 
watch the east wind kick the 
water into a ten inch chop. He shook his 



head and looked sad, as though it fore- 
tokened something ominous. 

"I wish he was here," he said. "Where 
in the hell could he be, anyway? The 
heat's at ten." 

I didn't know and I wouldn't guess, and 
Jock kept muttering and fretting and 
studying his watch, and finally at nine- 
thirty he clutched my arm suddenly and 
croaked. 

"There he comes. Over there." 

I turned and looked, watching Jock's 
green sedan thread through the trailers, 
parked cars and stacked boats. The trailer 
followed obediently, but when I got a good 
look at it I felt my insides liquefy. Beside 
me, Jock moaned softly and sank down on 
the top of a fuel can. I shook my head 
slowly, trying not to believe what Chug- 
ger had done. But I had to. It was there, 
or rather, she was there, Nell, the old 
dowager, riding in for a gay day in Chi- 
cago. 

"We should have told him," Jock wept 
"We should have told him. God, what a 
pea-brain." He wandered off then, like a 
stricken man when Chugger weaved the 
trailer into the pits. I was so sore I was 
nearly speechless, but I managed to babble 
something about Jock's fifteen grand. And 
Chugger smiled and said he knew. 

He smiled some more, but wouldn't say 
anything, and when he saw Jock tottering 
around by himself he merely clucked and 
shook his head a few times. Nell was in 
the water then, and the other boats were 
storming out for the final run. Chugger 
climbed in and kicked her over. He 
grinned again and waved. 

I waved back, the way you do at a 
small child who is leaving for school in 
the morning. 

Since I expected nothing but the com- 
plete smashing of any hopes we might have 
had, I wasn't even faintly surprised to 
see Nell cross the starting line in seventh 
place, and it would have been eighth if 
Sid DuRoche's boat hadn't wallowed and 
conked out in a great big wave of blue 
water. 

Chugger skipped around DuRoche and 
lit out after the rest of the pack, going 
into the first turn just as the leaders, La- 
mont and Gurney, were coming out on 
the far side. Nell took the turn nice, and 
if there hadn't been that big wad riding 



GRANDMA WAS A LADY 



her deck I would have enjoyed watching 
her have another fling at life. 

As it was I had a sour, sunken feeling 
in my middle which kept sinking lower 
and getting heavier as the time went on. 
When Chugger came out of the first turn 
he trailed the field by a good hundred 
yards, Lamont nearly up in line with the 
pits while Nell leveled out beyond the last 
pylon. 

And it got worse. 

She was a beautiful thing to watch, was 
old Nell. She had a grace and a manner 
with the rough chop that the others didn't 
have. She just seemed to skim over the 
stuff, and since the wind was from the east 
I could hear the high, sweet hum of her 
engine, which though some four hundred 
cubic inches smaller than the others, 
seemed to be running smoother ; not work- 
ing so hard, nor taking the jolts of the 
others. 

But races don't pay off on beauty 
and nice sounds, and Nell kept falling 
farther and farther back. 

At the end of the second lap Chugger 
lagged a half mile. Old Nell danced past 
the pits on her transom and aimed her 
bow for the south turn. Far around on 
the other side Gurney stalled again and 
Lamont passed him, easily, not working 
hard, just taking it easy ; but I knew that 
he could do that and still win, probably 
figuring he'd rather save his boat and 
make sure of the fifteen than knock him- 
self out driving a hot race. He didn't have 
much of anything to worry about that I 
could see. 

Nell stormed on down toward the pylon 
and as I followed her along the shore and 
into the turn my eyes drifted a little to the 
right and I saw Jock standing there with 
his hands jammed deep into his dungarees. 
He looked sad and disconsolate, and 
every few seconds he'd kick at a rock or 
a stone. I could almost read his mind, and 
it wasn't pleasant. 

When the leaders came out of the turn 
and into the backstretch the heat was near- 
ly half over. I could see Check topping 
the chop in a fine mist of spray, and as 
he came down abreast of me I could hear 
the banshee wail of the blower and then 
the heavy snarl of the engine. And after 
him came Fanning and Davis and Versick, 
going by in a scream and a roar — and 



then Nell, up in fifth place ! And going by 
in the high woo-o-o-o-o of Typhoon's 
blower ! 

"By God ! He's lost his mind complete- 
ly!" It was Jock, looking wild and climb- 
ing back into the pit. 

I didn't give him any argument on that, 
but if Chugger's brains were addled they 
were beginning to produce something 
amazing in the way or results. Nell moved 
up fast, skimming the water like a golden 
phantom and kicking out a high rooster- 
tail that trailed far behind. 

"She'll blow every brass screw in her!" 
Jock croaked. 

But she didn't. Chugger kept moving 
up, fast and nearly all the way out of the 
water. On the north turn he swung in 
close, shaved the pylon and left Versick 
in his wake when he came out on the shore 
side, heading south. Old Nell was boom- 
ing. 

She came by the pits like a wild thing, 
winding up higher than I'd ever heard 
and going a damned sight faster than I 
thought she could. She ran smooth and 
she ran light. 

The chop didn't seem to be bothering 
her at all, and I remembered then what a 
good rough-water boat she'd always been. 
And I wondered too if that might have oc- 
curred to Chugger. Or maybe it was just 
blind love with him. 

Whatever it was it didn't matter be- 
cause she kept right on going. She didn't 
blow and she didn't unravel. He sneaked 
up quick on Davis and Fanning on the 
fourth lap and passed them in a shower 
of white water on the backstretch, and by 
the time he came out of the north turn he 
was nosing the white foam of Check's 
wake. 

He stayed that way, right behind him 
all the way through the fifth and into the 
sixth and last. I don't know if Check 
knew he was there or not, but I don't 
think he did because he made no move to 
break his easy stride. Beside me, Jock 
was sitting down again and beating his 
head with his hands. 

All the way through the sixth lap my 
blood pressure kept kiting; and all the 
while Chugger kept trailing, down past 
the pits, into the south turn, down the 
backstretch and into the north turn. But 
(Continued on page 129) 



CURSE OF THE SHINING STONES 



" " ' ^.-^ r***-'-'^"' — ^. 



By 
W. D. HOFFMAN 




Buchara was knocked down 
and clubbed by tbe en- 
raged natives — and then 
I saw tbe giant Xosas 
springing toward me. 



THE black was staggering. Still 
Buchara wielded the hippo-hide 
sjambok, its lash eating into the 
Zulu's flesh. Oozing red veins marked the 
glistening skin of the victim. 

I turned, sickened at the sight. Hard- 
boiled as any of the mines police in going 
after the diamond smugglers, I hated tor- 
ture. The Portogreek overseer was ex- 
ceeding his authority, yet I had no right 
to interfere. Buchara was head of the 
Kaffir gangs, with instructions to stop 
the filching among the blacks, but use of 
the whip was against Syndicate regula- 
tions. 



II&USTBATED BY 
FEANX KBAMEE 




50 



51 



The lashing took place in an obscure 
corner of the compound behind the work- 
ers' shacks, out of sight of Captain Hong- 
ward. I could see the captain standing 
back at the Hole looking my way. His in- 
tent, searching eyes were getting on my 
nerves. He probably suspected me of 
knowing where the diamonds were going. 
I in turn suspected even he might be in- 
volved. Things had got to such a state 



ADVENTURE 



everybody mistrusted everybody else, even 
the sleuths. My fear was that Captain 
Hongward might try to frame me to pro- 
tect himself. 

I could hear the terrible lash of Buchara, 
hissing, exploding. Off in the Hole the 
Basuto workers, Xosas Kaffirs, mixed 
Bantus and Zulus, toiled in the sultry 
heat, ignorant of the whipping. Only a 
few off-shift blacks were in this hous- 
ing section of the compound. Buchara's 
brutality, turned my sympathies toward 
the Kaffirs. They were like children. If 
corrupted by the Illicit Diamond Buyers, 
the real solution was more I. D. B. prose- 
cutions outside the mines. 

A low wail from an old Zulu in the 
doorway of a corrugated iron shack drew 
my glance again to the torture scene. Now 
the victim was sinking to his knees, his 
bloody kaross touching the ground. His 
chin was still raised; there was a calm 
haughtiness in his dusky eyes. Brave 
men, those Zulus, and of splendid 
physique. But there is an end to human 
endurance. Gradually as the whip con- 
tinued to lash his bleeding body the black 
man went down on his face. He lay un- 
moving, and I knew he was unconscious. 

A runner now left the enclosure in a 
wild race toward the main compound and 
the mines. Buchara wiped his sweating 
brow, his Portogreek countenance ugly 
with exultation. He wielded the sjambok 
over his head, ordering a pair of Kaffirs 
to carry the victim of his lash across the 
compound into the field hospital. 

I KNEW well enough Bu- 
chara had exceeded his au- 
thority, yet it was not my 
business to tell him so. But 
when he strode nearer, my Wyoming 
blood was choking me. I challenged him. 
"The G. M. wouldn't stand for that, Bu- 
chara. You did it out of sight of the main 
compound, I notice. You're a damned low 
dog and worse than the Kaffirs." 

Buchara stopped. His eyes were cold, 
his small dark red mouth hard and cruel. 
"You — you — I" he began, but feared to 
use the word, knowing I carried a gun. 
"He was just another of your black pets, 
Ensley. Caught with a stone in his mouth. 
I'll break it up if I have to cut them to 
pieces. That's orders." 




Off in the distance Kaffirs on the 
crushers, the sorting shed and in the Hole 
halted work, muttering in an ominous 
roar. The runner had carried the news of 
the whipping. Some of the most daring 
began to trot toward the housing yard, 
their oxtail girdles swaying, armlets and 
anklets gleaming, feathers waving as their 
lithe bodies covered the ground. Now a 
calabash drum sounded in a steady, sinis- 
ter beat from a zinc-and-iron shanty. A 
throbbing chant arose from hundreds of 
throats, sullen, rebellion-laden. 

"I believe you lie," I answered the over- 
seer. "The Syndicate would never stand 
for that sort of thing." 

The mixed blood of the Portogreek 
went black in his sodden face. "You 
sneaked in here to spy on me, did you? 
Stand back, you damned Yankee blight- 
er!" He lifted the sjambok in a threaten- 
ing gesture. 

Sight of that deadly whip got me. I 
struck his leering face with a fist that had 
a hard lift behind it. Buchara went down 
like a sack of diamond mud. 

Blacks were swarming into the yard. 
I sensed the thrill among them as they 
stared toward me and the fallen overseer. 
Their mournful chant took on a shriller 
note. For a minute I regretted the blow, 
fearing a dangerous outbreak if they 
killed Buchara. Fortunately he was able 
to drag himself back on his stocky legs. 

We faced each other a full minute. I 
knew the Portogreek was a coward at 
heart, and in spite of the whip he feared 
me. "So?" he stammered, cravenly, wip- 
ing his battered mouth. "You've made 
more friends among the jackals by that, 
Ensley." 

He lumbered off, muttering what he 
dared not call me openly. 

The Zulu chant became a wail of agony 
and of protest. I squinted toward the dis- 
tant field hospital. Dr. Jeffrey stood there 
waiting while they carried the unconscious 
victim through the door. 

Attracted by the running blacks, Cap- 
tain Hongward of the mines police ap- 
proached me from his quarters. With 
him was the visiting chief of the South 
African Constabulary, Dawson. As I 
crossed to meet them, the chant of the 
natives broke into the equivalent of a 
cheer. "Baas-Inkoos! Son of the Yel- 



CURSE OF THE SHINING STONES 



53 



low-Maned One!" Knocking down Bu- 
chara had made me a hero among the 
Zulus. Yet I noticed a giant Xosas sub- 
boss eyeing me with sinister hostility. I 
had had a little trouble with this fellow be- 
fore. He was known as the Lizard, 
Lagavaan. His six months' contract serv- 
ice was up and he was leaving today. 

"You hit him?" rapped Captain Hong- 
ward. "Serious business. Ensley." His 
jaw squared. "Meet me in the G. M.'s 
office in the morning." 

I nodded. Losing my job would be bet- 
ter than jail on a frameup charge. The 
drum beats had stopped — a guard had 
ordered the weazened old drummer out of 
the shanty. 

Later in the afternoon at the Xosas pit 
in the Hole a hurried gathering of offi- 
cials took place. They were taking out of 
the blue earth a whitish mass that looked 
like rock salt, the size of a pigeon's egg. 
It had been found before the usual trip 
through the crushers. Kaffirs were mut- 
tering "blink klip," shining stone. Guard 
lines were quickly thrown around the 
workers. Buchara, the overseer, wielded 
a piece of pipe, driving the Kaffirs back. 
Others crowded up, jabbering excitedly. 

The commissioner's agent gave his 
opinion the diamond was pure-water of 
equal quality with the best De Beer's or 
Premier. Laughingly be named the new 
find "Dawson" in honor of the visiting 
chief of the Constabulary. 

Suddenly the blacks rushed Buchara. 
He had done something I did not see. The 
pipe was wrenched from his hand ; he 
was clubbed by the enraged natives, 
knocked down and a dozen of the blacks 
leaped upon him, kicking the life out of 



him. As the guards rushed to his aid I 
saw the giant Xosas, the Lizard, springing 
toward me with the uplifted pipe in his 
huge hand. Before I could back off or pull 
my gun he had struck me through the hel- 
met. 

Knocked senseless for the moment, my 
head was a w-renching, exploding chaos. 
Visions of a hundred battling blacks 
danced through my brain. Gradually I 
fought off the dizzy nausea. Captain 
Hongward and Dawson were helping me 
back out of the pit. 

Guards at gun point held the furious 
Zulus who had bounded to my aid when 
the Xosas Kaffir attacked. The Lizard 
was badly mauled, would have been 
clubbed to death but for the guns of the 
guards. But those guns could not save 
Buchara. The brutal Portogreek whipper 
was dead. 

IN THE hospital Dr. Jef- 
frey looked me over and I 
was given leave for the day. 
JW "Well, old chap," he said, 
"you got yourself out of hand with Bu- 
chara. Now the blacks have killed him. 
I hope they don't charge you with incite- 
ment to murder. I thought you Americans 
were made of sterner stuff, eh what?" 

"Buchara had it coming," I said, grim- 
ly, and told how he had exceeded authority 
in using the sjambok. "That Zulu, Doc- 
tor — did he come through?" 

"No. Ruptured appendix," Jeffrey an- 
swered. 

"Ruptured appendix ?" I stared into the 
ether-fumed operating room. 

"The blighter would have died anyway, 
within a week." 





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54 



ADVENTURE 



As I looked into his pinched face and 
the pale gray eyes I marveled at his pro- 
fessional callousness. "By the by, Ens- 
ley," he said, "can't you and Marcia be 
my guests at the Rhodes Jubilee Thurs- 
day evening?" 

I evaded that. My wife did not much 
care for Dr. Jeffrey. Marcia, a Montana 
girl, was unquestionably one of the most 
beautiful women in South Africa. She 
was returning that evening by capecart 
from a blesbok-shooting trip into the veldt 
with the colonial secretary's party, carry- 
ing her Montana love of hunting into 
the Colony. 

"Take a rest for a few days," Jeffrey 
advised with a laugh. "From the looks 
of that riot I'd say you weren't too safe 
in the compound from now on." 

That evening at the Diamondfields club 
I ran into General Manager Rafflehold. 
Over his whisky-soda he beckoned me to 
his table. I hastened to block immediate 
discharge by narrating the whipping in- 
cident. 

"Buchara over-stepped himself," the 
G. M. assented, frowning. "That doesn't 
justify his murder. Do you know any- 
thing, Ensley — what happened during the 
riot?" 

It was a queer question and I did not 
get it at the time. I told what I had seen, 
and argued that our efforts should be con- 
centrated on the I. D. B.'s outside the 
compound for awhile. 

Rafflehold scowled. "More would take 
their place. The jails are full of them, 
and still they operate." He eyed me pity- 
ingly. "You came highly recommended, 
Ensley. Experience checking highgraders 
in America and all that. Yet smuggling 
goes on right under your nose." 

"I doubt the blacks are doing most of 
it," I said, stubbornly. 

"You don't know, my man. You don't 
even know what happened this afternoon. 
Ask Captain Hongward." He gave me a 
penetrating look, as though he suspected 
me. Then he went on to say how serious 
the Syndicate regarded the exportation 
of uncut I. D. B. stones to New York 
and Amsterdam, flooding the market, 
threatening the world price on diamonds, 
no more valuable than opals if the vaults 
of the Syndicate" alone were thrown open. 

"There's a trick in the compound," he 



declared angrily. "I counted upon you to 
learn what it was." Ironically he repeated 
the old story of carrier pigeons, the arm- 
pit incision, the "hungry dog" fed 
diamond-encrusted meat ; reiterated how 
when the recreational director allowed the 
blacks to play American baseball, an over- 
the-fence ball was found loaded with 
gems ; how even a boxing kangaroo had 
been brought into the compound and its 
pouch stuffed with stones. 

"We're smuggler-proof with a charged 
fence," he scoffed, "and yet the traffic 
goes on. Great Scott, Ensley, haven't you 
got an idea?" 

I was making a lame defense when Cap- 
tain Hongward entered. When Rafflehold 
was through, the captain called me to his 
rooms. "You'll have to strip," he said. 

I obeyed readily, submitting to the 
search, knowing there must be a reason 
for such extraordinary precautions. Hong- 
ward was close-mouthed until he had done 
his duty. "Regulations, old fellow," he 
said, then, genially. "Nobody was exempt 
— not even myself. The Dawson diamond 
disappeared during the riot this afternoon 
at the Xosas pit." 

I was speechless. That was what the 
G. M. had meant when he said I didn't 
know anything. 

"Yes," Hongward went on, blandly. 
"It will jolly well cost us all our posts 
uness we recover it. The stockade is full 
of blacks under examination, and charged 
with Buchara's murder. We've gone over 
the whites — you're the last. The devil of 
it is, everybody is suspected." He laughed 
uneasily, watching me out of the corner of 
his eye. "I wouldn't be surprised if you 
had it in the back of your head that even 
I might be in on it, eh, what?" 

I was startled at his manner. There 
was a threat behind the bantering ques- 
tion. He had only implanted more deeply 
the ugly idea I had in mind. 

"I acquit you," I returned, making a 
joke of it. 

"A real sleuth has got to suspect his 
own brother in this game," he went on, 
with a shrug. "That's the hell of not 
having anything to work on. The plunder 
doesn't fly out, on pigeon's wings or by 
airplane, that's certain. Yet it goes out 
by physical means. It's our job to learn 
how." His pupils contracted into an intent 



CURSE OF THE SHINING STONES 



55 



stare. "I say, old fellow," he went on, 
slowly, "since you've talked to the G. M., 
forget that meeting in his office. You're 
not going to be discharged for knocking 
Buchara down." 

"Thanks." I wondered if he didn't 
need me on the job for a more serious 
charge he was considering. 

It was in my mind to go to work that 
very night among some I. D. B. suspects 
outside the compound. On going down to 
the transport station I learned my wife 
had already arrived. I hurried out to our 
cottage. Marcia, still in hunting togs, 
seemed upset. As she turned to kiss me 
I noticed she was pale in spite of the 
sun-tan from the trek. 

"Dr. Jeffrey was here," she said in a 
disgusted tone of voice. "I didn't know 
whether I should tell you." 

I did not understand at first. "But 
why? Why shouldn't you tell me?" 

"I had just arrived home from the 
trek," she said angrily. "Then he came, 
inviting me to the dance Thursday night 
with you. He said you hadn't made up 
your mind, and he would take me if you 
didn't go. I never liked him; he had 
shown too darned much interest in me 
before, though I never had mentioned it, 
knowing your temper — and I had heard 
he was somewhat of a rake. He made 
advances, said he was infatuated and that 
sort of rot. Suddenly he tried to kiss me 
and I struck him and ordered him out." 

I leaped to my feet, dumbfounded. "I'll 
get the dog for that," I cried. Marcia 
shook me. "There, I knew you would 
fly off the handle. Well, the rotter 
wouldn't leave until I told him you were 
coming. He begged me not to tell you, 
on account of his position ; also said it 
would make an ugly situation for me, 
if you tried to force a scandal of it. Better 
not make anything of it, Chuck, except 
to tell him to watch his step." 

For the first time since our wedding 
my mind rocked with jealousy, with hate 
of a man because of Marcia. But with 
my wife in my arms, tender with emotion, 
I knew she was in no way to blame for 
what had happened. Dr. Jeffrey would 
answer to me, privately and effectively. 

"Say nothing to anyone," I cautioned 
Marcia. "I've got a night assignment and 
will be back about midnight. No, it isn't 



to go after that crawling insect — just yet. " 
I wanted to prevent public gossiping that 
might involve Marcia's name with the 
dapper doctor ; then too the trip to Flavin's 
would help drive the bitter thing from 
my thoughts. I related the day's events 
in the compound, told where I would be, 
if needed. She begged me to take no un- 
necessary risks. In my Lizzie I drove 
out on the country road to the "Queen's 
Good Fellow." 

FLAVIN the Greek con- 
ducted a pub and dance es- 
tablishment that had har- 
bored I. D. B.'s in the past. 
We'd sent over several Greeks to join the 
horde in the old Fort prison, Mozambique, 
Angola and Union. But we never could 
pin anything on Flavin. 

I'd made myself an occasional patron 
at the place. Flavin, a broad-faced oily 
white, encouraged European trade, bibu- 
lous remittance men, Portuguese and 
English sailors, Boer-Dutch, with sepa- 
rate accommodations for mixed breeds, 
Kaffirs and other blacks, an ideal under- 
world setup for the traffic. 

The place was well filled ; the noisy 
crowd helped drive from mind the picture 
of Jeffrey annoying my devoted, golden- 
haired Marcia. Flavin, mingling with his 
customers at the tables and the bar, had 
his eyes on me from the start. I knew 
he w r ould tip off those in the trade, but 
I came out into the open with him now, 
told him I was looking for the Dawson 
stone. 

His cold eyes did not water. "You 
can search, senhor. I swear I know noth- 
ing. I would not take such a risk. This 
is my business — I do not seek to work on 
the breakwater. Look around, my friend, 
and welcome." 

Flavin was cunning, if guilty. I watched 
the Greeks in particular throughout the 
evening, with an eye on the blacks who 
might contact them. Several had been 
released from their long compound service 
that day. But if there was any transaction 
among them, I did not discover it. It was 
after midnight when I decided to leave, 
intending to return unexpectedly in an 
hour or two. 

At the front entrance a sharp pang 
brought me around with a jerk. In the 



ADVENTURE 



door-jamb quivered a long-bladed knife. 
Instantly four Zulus dashed toward me, 
jabbering. Others rushed toward a side 
room. I drew my automatic. 

"Lagavaan! Lagavaan!" cried the 
Zulus, and I knew they meant the Lizard 
had hurled the knife. Turning, I sped 
with them back into the pub. Other blacks 
were hurling chairs and a dop-keg against 
a side door. We rushed forward as the 
door crashed inward. There stood the giant 
Xosas, togged out in a red jacket and 
dirty soldier's pants. "O Lagavaan, evil- 
doer, you have taken the shining stones," 
chanted a Zulu. "Our Baas-Inkoos, the 
black man's friend, Son of the Yellow- 
Maned One, has come to use the white 
man's magic — " 

The Lizard sprang like a huge leopard 
toward the entrance, leaping high, knock- 
ing a pair of Zulus sprawling. I struck 
at his kinky head with my pistol, hit him 
a glancing blow. Three other Zulus hurled 
themselves upon him, dragging him back 
into the little room. They stretched him 
out, arms held wide, legs spread, one of 
them sitting on his chest. 

Quickly they applied a refined form of 
torture; his fingers were bent back and 
a work-yellowed thumb pressed at his 
twitching neck behind the ear. His eyes 
rolled like chalk and his tongue wobbled 
in and out. At last he was willing to talk. 
He had stolen diamonds in the compound 
and turned them over to the Portogreek 
Buchara, who kept the shining stones in a 
hollow of the sjambok whipstock. He 
knew nothing of the big gem, he swore by 
the great Chaka, the black Napoleon. He 
did not understand how Buchara had 
smuggled the contraband out of the com- 
pound. 

At my command the Zulus released the 
big Kaffir. It had turned out a fairly 
good night's work, after all. That whip 
secret was my first real clew. Smuggling 
from the compound would probably cease 
for awhile, with Buchara dead. I put 
handcuffs on Lagavaan and drove him to 
the compound detention quarters, then 
proceeded home. 

A light was burning and Marcia was 
up, though it was past one o'clock in the 
morning. Our Basuto boy sat on the stoop, 
a knobkerrie club in his hand. I saw the 
fright in Marcia's blue eyes as she opened 



the door at my call. "Did you see any- 
one out there?" she quavered. "Several 
men were hiding in the pampa — I don't 
know whether they were blacks or not." 

"I'll go see." I turned, taking the gun 
from my shoulder holster. My wife clung 
to me, fearing to let me go. 

I pressed her back. "I'll kill the skul- 
kers — " 

"Whom will you kill, Ensley?" came 
the brittle voice of Captain Hongward as 
he yanked in the door. He walked slowly 
toward me. "Sorry, old man, but I've 
got a reason for making another search — 
been waiting for you. Never mind strip- 
ping just yet." He bowed and apologized 
to Marcia, his rugged face harsh in the 
lamplight. Stopping close to me, he ran 
his hands into my pockets. 

His gray eyes contracted and his mouth 
went hard as his fingers scraped the bot- 
tom of a coat pocket. Slowly he drew out 
his hand, opened it and exposed three 
whitish pebbles the size of a large pea 
each. 

"Blink klips," he said blandly. 

I stared at the three rough diamonds. 
It was hard to believe what I saw. 
Marcia's face had gone gray. I faced the 
captain with an effort at control. "I've 
just been at the Queen's Good Fellow. If 
those stones were in my pocket, someone 
there planted them on me," I said levelly. 
"I just took Lagavaan to the compound 
jail, but he was handcuffed and could 
hardly have done it." 

"Sorry. You know what this means, 
Ensley. You'll have to tell that plausible 
story to the magistrate. Madam," look- 
ing grimly at my wife, "I regret this 
thing had to happen, for your sake." 

I SAT down, weak with 
shock. To have uncut dia- 
monds in one's possession 
was an inescapable felony, 
the penalty seven years. Unless I could 
produce witnesses to prove I had confis- 
cated them as an officer I would be in the 
same situation as any I. D. B. culprit fac- 
ing a long sentence at hard labor on the 
Capetown breakwater. 

"Someone in Flavin's pub put them 
there — to get me out of the way," I 
choked. "Captain, you don't suspect I'm 
a criminal, do you?" 




CURSE OF THE SHINING STONES 



57 



"In this game, we've got to suspect 
even our own brother," Hongward said 
thinly. "My job is to take you in. But 
I'm not through yet, Ensley. Hadn't you 
better save your own time and mine by 
producing the Dawson stone — or shall I 
go ahead with the search?" 

That angered me. Marcia had flung 
herself into my arms, sobbing. "Look 
here, Hongward!" I flared. "If someone 
didn't slip them into my pocket during 
the melee when I caught the Lizard to- 
night, then maybe you did it just now." 

"Why would I do that?" he asked. 

"For the same reason they might have 
done it at Flavin's — to put me away right 
when I'm getting hot on the trail — " 

"I'd advise you not to talk yourself 
into conviction, Ensley," Hongward cut 
in, sourly. "You're only proving the case 
by admitting you can't tell the source 
of the stones, wildly charging even me 
with planting them on you." 

1 saw my temper had gotten the best 
of me. The captain stepped to the door, 
called in three of my fellow officers. The 
next hour saw me searched to the skin 
and the house ransacked from ceiling to 
plumbing, even the pipes being sounded 
in the hunt for the big Dawson stone. 

"Too bad," Hongward said at last. 
"Maybe you've got it inside the compound 
yet. I feel sorry for you and Mrs. Ensley, 
too. She'll have to get along without you 
for quite awhile, I fear. It's late," he 
added brusquely. "I'll hold several men 
outside. You can get some sleep and go 
along to the magistrate in the morning." 
Dismissing his men, he bowed to my wife, 
walked out and re-locked the door with 
his own passkey. 



Maybe it was decent of him to give me 
this consideration on account of the injury 
I had suffered in the riot. I wasn't able 
to make up my mind about him, but the 
suspicion that he had crowded his hand 
in my pocket with the diamonds already 
in his fingers persisted. The deaf ear he 
turned to my account of the Flavin raid, 
the knife attempt on my life and the 
Lizard's arrest, showed him to be as hard 
as the missing stones he sought — maybe 
because he was blind to everything but 
his duty, maybe for another reason. 

I got little sleep, with the police guard 
patrolling the yard, with the prospect of 
years in the penitentiary. But I thought 
it all out. I was trapped unless I could 
find the man who had planted the evidence 
on me and prove he had done it. This 
looked hopeless, with me in custody. When 
Hongward returned in the morning I 
stalled for time. 

"If you'll take me to the compound 
on the way to the magistrate, I'll show 
you some real evidence," I offered. The 
whipstock was in my mind and I wanted 
to study Hongward's reaction to that. 
Also I wanted to get into the compound 
for a last-minute punch at Dr. Jeffrey 
before the jail doors clanged shut behind 
me. 

The captain hesitated, eyeing me sus- 
piciously. 1 had not told him of the 
sjambok ; maybe he did not want any real 
evidence, if he was mixed up in the thing. 
I had to let him think I was coming clean 
with a deal involving the blacks. "No 
shenanigans," the captain warned as I 
tore myself from my distraught wife and 
entered his car. 

On passing through the compound gate. 



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ADVENTURE 



I led Hongward around to the slain Porto- 
greek's quarters and found the sjambok 
without trouble. Fingering the butt of the 
whip I soon discovered a screw cap of 
metal. When opened, it showed the stock 
was hollow, as the Lizard had said. 

Hongward's eyes were veiled as he 
looked at it. "Buchara," he muttered. 
"He got the stones from the blacks, 
slipped them into the whipstock, then 
passed them to you." His heavy neck 
veins bulged. "But even you had to sub- 
mit to search on leaving. How did you 
do it, Ensley?" 

"Maybe I didn't," I said, banteringly. 
"Maybe someone else was the smuggler." 

"You said you'd have some real evi- 
dence," he grated. "If this is the extent 
of it, we'll be moving on." 

I was stumped, desperately determined 
to delay arraignment and jail without 
bond. I couldn't tell a plausible lie even 
had I wanted to, lacking the key to the 
all-important part of the compound- 
running. That whip, I knew, had never 
been taken out of the mine — Buchara 
would not have dared let it be known 
he was using such an instrument of 
punishment. 

"Come along, if that's all you're tell- 
ing," Hongward ordered. 

"Let's go into the hospital," I proposed, 
pretending there might be a link in the 
evidence there. My real object now was 
to fly at Dr. Jeffrey's throat or club him 
with anything in sight, as a parting shot to 
the outside world. The thought of Marcia 
being alone for seven years in the same 
colony with Jeffrey was worse torture 
than the whip would have been. 

"Don't forget we're after the Dawson 
stone," Hongward reminded, assenting 
grudgingly. 



AS WE passed the Hole, 
the Zulus raised a chorus of 
"Baas-Inkoos ! The boss- 
friend — Son of the Yellow- 
Maned One ! Matagati ! The Wise Man 
Who Searches for the Big Shining 
Stone!" Bowing and scraping, they made 
it known the Ama-Zulu were my friends 
and servants. I turned to the captain. 
"What's going to happen to those boys 
who killed Buchara?" 




He jerked his thumb toward the deten- 
tion jail at the edge of the compound. 
"They'll all be given long terms for that, 
after Dr. Jeffrey goes over their naked 
bodies with the X-rays for hidden stones." 
His voice chilled. "Get the Dawson 
diamond." I felt bis gun boring into my 
side. 

"That stone disappeared in the riot, 
after I was hit over the head," I scoffed. 

"True," Hongward gritted, "but you 
know how it was accomplished. You can 
tell where the Dawson is very likely to be. 
I want that information, Ensley." 

He seemed in earnest about it. I could 
not have given that information any more 
than the G. M. himself. Knowing a smat- 
tering of the Zulu tongue, I called out to 
the workers in the Hole, "Ama-Zulu! 
People of the Zulu, attention, Inkoosie- 
zana ! 

"O Brothers of the Yellow-Maned 
One," I orated in their rounded phrases, 
"if you love the white friend of the black 
man, tell me what became of the Big 
Shining Stone of yesterday. In the name 
of the Great Chaka and Cetewayo and 
the mighty impics of Dinizulu, let the Big 
Shining Stone have voice so that your 
white brother may bear." 

It sounded like a lot of hooey, of course, 
unless you know Zulu nature. I was 
gambling on the chance that some of the 
blacks might have seen who took the big 
diamond during the riot. But from the 
blank faces of the natives and their silence 
I knew they were as much in the dark 
as I was. At that moment I saw Dr. Jef- 
frey crossing to the detention building 
where the prisoners were confined. 

"Take me there. I think I can get the 
stone," I told Hongward. 

"Another stall?" sneered the captain. 

"The big Kaffir I arrested, named 
I.agavaan. is in there. He's a confederate 
of Buchara. Maybe I can make him talk." 

"It may cut your sentence a little if 
you do," growled my guard, and we start- 
ed for the compound jail. 

Jeffrey was leaving by a side door with 
four Kaffir prisoners under guard, taking 
them to the hospital for examination. 
Cursing my bad luck, I was forced to 
delay meeting Jeffrey for the time being. 
We entered the detention quarters and 
hunted up the Lizard. 



CURSE OF THE SHINING STONES 



59 



He had been placed in a solitary cell 
by the jailer after I had delivered him. 
At the captain's request the jailer un- 
locked the cell door. 

"Go in and talk to him," directed 
Hongward. 

I stepped in, feeling safe against the 
black with the two armed officers on hand. 
But the moment I was in, Hongward 
snapped the lock and rushed away with 
the jailer. 

A disturbance among the prisoners at 
the rear might have led him to do this, 
but it looked to me as though he had 
another object. If in on the traffic, he 
would know how Lagavaan longed to 
strangle me. Before I could open my 
mouth the giant Kaffir sprang at me, 
his great eyes bulging in a blaze of hate 
and vengeance. I was unarmed and no 
match for such a specimen. His fingers 
locked about my throat like enormous 
talons and he bore me down to the cell 
floor, chocking me. 

I could hear Hongward talking to the 
jailer. As the cell whirled and my breath 
swelled with the wrenching agony of that 
grip, I saw the burly officer as the real 
murderer, willing to have me killed be- 
cause I suspected him. The ape-like 
Kaffir would have strangled me in a 
couple of minutes, sparing me the long 
prison term, but for a grip' I managed 
to get on the little finger of his throttling 
hand. I twisted it, forced it back, and 
heard the bone snap. He released his 
hold, jumped up and got ready for an- 
other spring. 

Rising quickly, I tried to face him 
down, pretending fearlessness and mas- 
tery. "I came to spare you from the 
sjambok, Lagavaan," I said, steadily. 

From the sudden terror in his eyes 
I knew he dreaded the whip above every- 
thing, even a term in prison. He quailed, 
staring at me, and I knew I was safe. 
"Your friend Buchara is dead. I am the 
only induana of the black man who can 
save you from the torture," I told him in 
a lame Bantu dialect. "Where is the Big 
Shining Stone? Out with it!" 

"I know not, Inkoos," he wavered, 
fright in his eyes. "My belly is full of the 
little shining stones," he went on in his 
native tongue. "O save me from the whip, 
friend of the black man. Those who go 



under the sjambok always join the dead 
in the Sands of the Kopje." He meant 
the burial plot beyond the compound. 

I realized Lagavaan, attacked and 
beaten during the riot, had had no part 
in stealing the Dawson stone, and though 
he was diamond-studded within from 
swallowed gems, that did not help me to 
unearth the prize. Hongward and the 
jailer returned to the cell. "No dice yet," 
I told the captain, grimly. "But take me 
to the hospital to question Jeffrey about 
his X-ray tests on the prisoners." 

To get a chance to confront Jeffrey 
I was willing to ignore the cell incident. 
"Don't worry, Ensley, you're scheduled 
for an X-ray examination yourself," 
Hongward grunted. I hid my elation. 
I'd settle with Jeffrey as much as an un- 
armed man could do it. Then Hongward 
said the G. M. was waiting to see me. 

■^ WE WENT into the Ad- 
gWvv^B ministration office. Raffie- 

\Pj^^ ' 10 ' c ' called me into a private 

cj^BHi room. "I'm amazed, Ensley, 
at the news about you," he began. For a 
time he lectured me about yielding to what 
the Kaffirs called "the curse of the shin- 
ing stones," risking the penitentiary for 
illicit gain, something he never expected 
of a man of my standing, disgracing myself 
and bringing sorrow to a young and 
beautiful wife. Suddenly he leaned for- 
ward. 

"I don't often do this, Ensley. But the 
Dawson stone is of such value I'll not 
prosecute if you produce it or tell us the 
operating methods of the smugglers so 
we may find it. Do that and you and 
your wife may take the first boat and 
leave South Africa." 

I felt like a whipped cur, admiring the 
G. M. as I did and seeing him regard me 
as an ungrateful thief. Leaving South 
Africa in disgrace would have been pre- 
ferred to what I was facing, yet he might 
as well have offered me the moon. I denied 
I knew about the big gem, but it was plain 
he did not believe me. The interview 
ended with his fervent promise to prose- 
cute and ask for the seven-year limit. 

"Come along, Ensley," Hongward 
directed. "You'll have to go through 
with the X-ray routine with the blacks." 
He escorted me to the hospital. 



ADVENTURE 



Dr. Jeffrey and his assistants were busy 
with the rioters who had killed Buchara, 
mainly Zulus. It was unlikely any of them 
had swallowed a stone as large as the 
Dawson find, but regulations called for 
examination for smaller gems. "Doctor, 
you may not have heard of Ensley's 
arrest," the captain said as Jeffrey came 
into the waiting room. "We took three 
uncut blink klips from him at his home 
during the night." 

Jeffrey's lightish eyes contracted as he 
looked at me. I was waiting for him to 
come a step closer. "By Jove, Ensley," 
he breathed. "I hate to see you in this 
fix, old man." His pale, thin face went 
cold. "Hard on Marcia, eh what?" 

My lips were taut and my eyes bored 
into his. He did not waver, though he 
must have known from my look that 
Marcia had told me everything. I edged 
nearer. 

"I feel damned sorry for Marcia," he 
had the audacity to remark. "Come in, 
I'll have to X-ray you." 

He turned his back. With Hongward 
I entered the laboratory. An assistant 
was just finishing with a black and he 
motioned to the table. "You're next." 

I could see nothing but Jeffrey's un- 
healthy face, measuring it for the blow, 
the glistening tight skin, the pale eyes, 
the thin-lipped mouth — those lips he had 
tried to force on Marcia. My brain went 
on fire, and I struck. 

My fist reached him full on the mouth, 
drawing blood on my knuckles, loosening 
a tooth or two, but he caught himself as 
he staggered back, holding his legs. The 
captain grabbed me, uttering an oath. 

Jeffrey tried to laugh, his bruised 
mouth working. "It's a personal matter 
between us, Captain," he said, with sur- 
prising calm. "I don't think he'll explain. 
But I'll have to strap him to the table 
or he might do it again." He called to 
a young English interne and with the 
willing help of Hongward raised me to 
the table and buckled me down with straps 
used for that purpose on unruly blacks. 
I was held down by arms and legs. The 
metal carrier was rolled over under the 
X-ray machine. 

"You needn't wait, Captain," Jeffrey 
said. "It may take an hour on account 
of the rushing business this morning." 



Under guard, more blacks were filing 
into the waiting room and among them 
I glimpsed Lagavaan, the Lizard, as they 
passed the door. Fright was in his ebony 
face, doubtless because he knew those 
swallowed gems would be located by the 
white man's wizardry, then he would go 
to the breakwater. 

An assistant moved the ray focus-finder 
above me, the machine hissing intermit- 
tently as the power was applied. While 
this was going on, Jeffrey directed a guard 
to bring Lagavaan into his office. They 
were there for some time, then the Kaffir 
was wheeled out on a narrow surgical 
table into the operating room. Jeffrey 
now came to me, his swollen, lacerated 
mouth greasy with salve, took my tem- 
perature and some drops of blood from 
my veins, placing them between squares 
of glass. Taking my blood count. I won- 
dered about that. 

He was gone for fifteen minutes, then 
returned and wheeled me into the operat- 
ing room with the Lizard. That alarmed 
me. "What's this?" I gritted between 
my teeth. 

Jeffrey laughed, turned and locked the 
door,^ leaving me alone with him. "Ap- 
pendicitis," he said, softly. 

My spine went suddenly cold. He 
turned to the Kaffir, who like me was 
strapped in, told him in dialect not to be 
afraid — that I alone would go under the 
knife. 

"Marcia told you?" he asked, blandly. 
My nostrils were stinging with the pun- 
gent odor of ether. 

"Is this murder ... ?" I choked, as 
he clamped the ether pack over my mouth 
and nostrils, acting as his own anesthetist. 
I fought to raise my arms to fight him, 
bulging the straps, but they held firm. 

Jeffrey had me completely at his mercy. 
He had not covered my eyes ; I could see 
his white, deadly face, like that of a man 
wasting from narcotics, and the pin-point 
pupils were those of an addict. In that 
terrible moment I realized I was in the 
grip of a fiend. He was probably engaged 
in the illicit diamond traffic — 

Like an electric shock the truth hit me. 
It was Dr. Jeffrey, in our home, who had 
planted those uncut stones on me. He 
had placed them in the pocket of my suit 
coat hanging on the wall while he visited 



CURSE OF THE SHINING STONES 



61 



Marcia. I had forgotten until this mo- 
ment I had taken off my work jacket and 
donned the coat before going to the 
Queen's Good Fellow. 

\\\\\ff// I TRIED to cry out, but 
§m\!/m/ only a muffled squeak came 
g /yyy j from the ether pack. The 
SsS^SS fumes of the drug were stran- 
gling me. "Breathe deeply," he whis- 
pered into my ear. "You'll be under in a 
minute. Before you go, my dear fellow, 
please realize this is for my own protec- 
tion — since you know so much. With 
Buchara gone and you gone, I'll take care 
of my friend Lagavaan." His words were 
growing fainter as the drug began to affect 
me. 

I could hardly strain at the straps now, 
but his callous, lime-colored face was as 
vivid before my eyes as ever. Now his 
free hand raised, holding before my gaze 
the big Dawson diamond. "Since you are 
such a smart detective, look at it," he 
murmured. "I had intended to sew it up 
in Lagavaan with some others, so Senhor 
Flavin could locate it on the Kopje in his 
grave. But now I think I'll let you be the 
carrier, my clever friend. Quite a joke, 
what — Ensley smuggling out the big stone, 
after all! Can you hear me? I'll help 
Marcia with the funeral arrangements. 
Sweet dreams and goodbye . . ." 

I was passing out ; a great round point 
of purple light seemed to whirl far out 
in the heavens and then draw down upon 
me. 

In that twilight zone I was faintly con- 
scious of a thumping sound, of a struggle. 
I sucked in a strangled breath, then a 
quick succession of life-giving draughts 



that revived me, and realized the pack 
was off my face. 

The giant Kaffir and the doctor were 
tumbling wildly about the room. I knew 
Lagavaan's muscular body had burst the 
straps of the table as in a frenzy of fear 
he had seen what Jeffrey was doing to me, 
believing his turn would be next. Abrupt- 
ly I saw the Lizard plunging headlong 
through the window, shattering the glass 
all about. 

Jeffrey staggered to the door, turned 
the lock, and a revolver was in his hand. 
I could hear the Kaffir yelling. Jeffrey 
dashed out ; three quick shots roared in 
the compound. The cries of the Xosas 
giant broke off. 

In a moment Jeffrey ran back into the 
surgery, panting and excited, the gun still 
in his hand. He turned the key in the 
lock, and in terror I saw him take up the 
ether pack once more. 

Having killed the big Lagavaan, he w.as 
going to finish the job of wiping out the 
evidence, seeing to it that I died in the 
operation, using my body as a ghoulish 
device for running the compound gates. 
Only the wild dream of a dope addict 
could have conceived it. 

My will battled against the weakening 
tide overwhelming me, with Marcia seem- 
ing to beckon me. A tremendous roar 
broke upon my ears. I thought it was the 
ether. Through my brain rushed a pic- 
ture of Buchara plying the torturous 
sjambok, lashing struggling Kaffirs into 
unconsciousness so that Jeffrey might ply 
his murder trade at intervals to furnish 
human deposit boxes for illicit gems. 

The building shook. A weird, frenzied 
(Continued on page 128) 



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DAN CARPENTER'S fingers were 
itching for the wheel. He was 
master of this small ship and she 
was making her first cargo port. Why 
shouldn't he take her in ? 

He lifted his binoculars and stared hard 
at the break in the coast that was San 
Ybel. Above, as if poised to pounce on 
the little port, crowded the wrinkled 
mountains of Puerto Rico. 

At the wheel John Lane straightened 
his tall body and glanced inquiringly at 
Dan. 

"You know this place, John," Dan 
Carpenter said and leaned moodily against 



62 



the side panel of the Islander's tiny wheel- 
house. Masterly inaction ! 

A ship is a dead thing without a crew. 
But only a skipper, he was discovering, 
knew what a headache a crew was. 

He had spent plenty to make sure there 
was nothing wrong with his ship, such 
as she was, a hundred-ten-foot sub-chaser 
converted to carry cargo. But sure as 
shooting there was something wrong with 
his crew. That was the stiff job, nurse- 
maiding the crew, not handling the ship. 

" I ought to be carrying a lousy psychol- 
ogist in davits aft." he muttered sourly. 
"What's eating this bunch?" 



He was her master, Captain Dan Car- 
penter, and he couldn't show distrust of 
his mate, of his engineer, of his cook or of 
his three deckhands, although every last 
one of them was slant-eyed about some- 
thing. Or maybe about somebody ; for 
example, tall John Lane there at the wheel, 
once her master and owner, now her 
mate. 

Just what did they anticipate? Treach- 
ery? Or no pay? Anyhow, this unease 



was for him to soothe. He was her master, 
their papa, if he was the youngest guy in 
the ship. 

The Islander approached the erratic 
clangor of the sea buoy. No pilot offered, 
although the pilot would be in the port 
charges. 

The little ship, her Diesels throttled 
well down, entered a channel that threaded 
a way through broad flats. John Lane's 
spare, sun-wrinkled hands eased over the 




A new light suddenly Sooded the Belle Kate's 
deck, and a siren let go a scream of warning. 



RICHARD HOWELLS WATKINS 



ADVENTURE 



wheel carefully to compensate for a stiff 
easterly that hit her on the beam. The 
man was a seaman, sure. 

Every one of these six, including Lane, 
seemed to be waiting for something to 
happen, something not nice. 

Dan Carpenter scrutinized the port. 
Not a ship stirring of the handful within, 
but of course this was Sunday. 

"Think Cap'n Colmar's right about 
there being some cargo here?" Dan asked. 

"He has a nose for freights, skipper," 
John Lane said tonelessly. He squinted 
his eyes. "There's his Belle Kate in line 
with the cathedral." 

The Islander's engineer, Cliff Bronson, 
stuck his greasy visored cap into the 
wheelhouse. He was no bigger than a 
jockey but he never let it bother him. 

"You can't spot crated pineapple from 
here, skipper," he said, grinning. "Relax." 

"I'm looking for an engineer who'll 
stand by his motors while we're entering 
port," Dan said. 

"Going, ain't I? Hey!" Cliff jerked a 
thumb and screwed up his face mysteri- 
ously. 

Dan Carpenter stepped down out of the 
pilothouse and followed the small engineer 
aft to the engineroom companion. 

Cliff jerked his thumb again. "John 
Lane's a good seaman and a square enough 
guy though shy and standoffish," he said. 
"But his luck is strictly Class Z." 

So it was Lane who caused this un- 
ease ! Lane and his luck ! 

"Well?" Dan's voice was frosty. 

"I'm scared a meteor will sock him just 
as he's trying to lay her alongside. You 
better take her yourself, skipper." 

"Men make their own luck," Dan said. 
"Forget it." 

"Forget how he lost six weeks at Cien- 
fuegos waiting for a boat charter that 
didn't show ? How he was caught laid up 
in a shipyard when the boys went on 
strike? How he had her near burnt up on 
him in Port au Prince? How — " 

"If you've got any charge to make 
against Lane, spit it out, Cliff," Dan said 
crisply. "Otherwise go take a look at your 
lube oil gauges. I'm not firing a man for 
having bad luck." 

"Charge? I like the guy," Cliff pro- 
tested. "It's just I don't want to see you 
lose the Islander back to that money 




lendin' cap'n Colmar like he did. And — 
O.K., I'm going!" 

HE SHOT feet first down the 
oily ladder as if intent on 
suicide. His heel hooked into 
an iron rung. He fell heavily 
to the plates and sprawled there motion- 
less. 

Dan slid down and picked him up 
After a moment Cliff waggled his scrawny 
neck feebly. 

"Never did that before in my life," he 
muttered. "See what I mean?" 

"You were due for it," Dan said, hold- 
ing him up. "All right now?" 

The ship's bottom rose abruptly under 
them. They fell together. The port Diesel 
lifted on its bed, its shaft breaking into 
shattering clamor. Cliff scrambled up and 
staggered forward. Dan beat him to the 
controls and killed the motor. 

"Start your bilge pump !" Dan shouted. 
"She's holed !" 

He streaked up the ladder and toward 
the pilot house. Wrecked in a broad chan- 
nel ! With fists clenched and eyes blazing 
he thrust past the wavering cook and the 
three sailors. 

The stricken gray face of John Lane 
confronted him. The man, hands clutch- 
ing the wheel, was trembling but the ship 
was already headed toward a sandbar east 
of the channel. 

"I was going to beach her," Lane said 
tautly. He stepped to one side of the 
wheel. 

Silently Dan grabbed the spokes. He set 
the starboard engine telegraph to dead 
slow and turned her into the wind to kill 
her speed, measuring the distance to the 
sandbar. 

He beckoned to a sailor. "Miguel, go 
to the engine room. Ask the chief how 
high the water is getting." 

The man ran. Dan's eyes swept the 
channel. A black can buoy near at hand 
marked a sharp turn. 

"What happened?" Dan asked, savage 
eyes turning to Lane. "Did you cut that 
can?" 

Lane hesitated, moving his lips. 

"I would swear I left it to port," he 
said. "I — You won't believe me." 

He dropped suddenly onto the helms- 
man's stool as if his backbone had turned 



MAKE YOUR OWN LUCK 



to water. "I don't believe myself," he said 
hoarsely. "I — I don't believe — " 

Plainly the smart thing to do was to 
bounce this guy onto the beach fast and 
fight on from there, with a united, un- 
jittery crew. On the other hand, Lane 
was in her crew and he, Dan Carpenter, 
was her master. 

"Let's have a look at that chart!" Dan 
said. "Bear a hand, will you?" 

John Lane's teeth were gritting. He 
grabbed the chart, folded it over and with 
a trembling finger indicated their location. 
The can's station was off a reaching coral 
reef invisible in the roiled water of the 
bay. 

Miguel stuck his head in, teeth agleam 
in his twisted mouth. "Chief say water — " 
His hand, palm down, lifted quickly. "He 
rig another pump." 

Shakily Lane pointed toward the head 
of the harbor. 

"Cap'n Colmar's coming." 

"Why not?" Dan muttered sardonical- 
ly. "He's still got five thousand bucks in 
this busted hull and he knows I figured 
on insuring her after I got my first 
freight." 

Miguel waved an arm toward a sizable 
steamer anchored nearer the town in the 
only spot of deep water shown on the 
chart. She was lowering a lifeboat. 

"This isn't a marine disaster," Dan 
growled. "It's only a bankruptcy." His 
eyes probed again at John Lane. 

"I can only say I'm sorry." Lane's 
voice was desperate. "You're thinking I 
wrecked her out of spite — or envy — but — " 

"We'll hold the inquest later," Dan 
said. Why didn't he suspect Lane of 
treachery? A master should know his 
men as well as he knew his ship. What 
else but treachery could you call this?" 

"Go below and estimate the damage," 
Dan said. "I won't beach her unless — " 

"There's a marine railway in San Ybel 
that'll take her." 

"I don't doubt it'll take her," Dan said, 
thinking of the two hundred left in the 
strongbox in the tiny chartroom. "Get the 
report." 

Miguel's soft brown eyes stared curi- 
ously at Lane's departing back. "She is 
not lucky, thees ship Capitan," he said. 
"Not for Sefior Lane. No?" 

His curiosity switched to Carpenter. 



"Get the anchor clear to let go," Dan 
commanded harshly. "Move!" 

The motor lifeboat from the freighter 
Horace C. Brown closed up. A lean ram- 
rod of a man in her sternsheets — Cap'n 
Slocum, he called himself — proffered a 
rather contemptuous offer of help. 

Dan declined. He looked toward the 
buoy. "Any other ship come in today?" 
he asked. 

Captain Slocum's eyes followed his. 
"No. I arrived yesterday and that ves- 
sel — " his eyes indicated Colmar's Belle 
Kate — "came in during the night. The 
buoy's not adrift, Captain. Did you leave 
it to port?" 

The contempt was plain, now, in the 
nasal voice. Red-faced, Dan did not an- 
swer. 

"You'd better beach her or head for 
the yard, captain," Slocum said tartly, as 
he swung his tiller. "A ship on the bot- 
tom's expensive." 

Dan kept her on the edge of the channel 
as he waited for Lane's report. Was there 
a chance he could beach and careen her 
and make satisfactory repairs with his 
own dispirited men? 

LANE came back, wet, dirty 
and taut-lipped. She was holed 
forward and amidships; the 
port tailshaft had cracked and 
done serious damage to the Diesel. The 
two pumps were about holding the water. 

Dan scowled at the black can. "Think 
back, Lane!" he said. "Exactly what 
happened?" 

"I'd — I'd say I left it to port," Lane 
said. His hollow voice was not convincing 
or even convinced. Why didn't he lie 
better than that, if he'd cut it? There was 
a catch here. 

"Just for laughs I'm going to take 
soundings around that marker," Dan said. 
"Miguel! You and Tonio get the boat 
over." 

Colmar's Belle Kate, twice the little 
Islander's tonnage, ranged alongside her. 

Colmar, squat, black-haired, stood at the 
rail, waiting his chance, and swung his 
short body surely across a three-foot gap 
down onto Dan's deck. The two craft 
diverged. Colmar's keen gray eyes drove 
John Lane out of the pilothouse. He asked 
calm, unhurried questions. 




66 



ADVENTUKE 



"I was just figuring on dropping a 
sounding line around that buoy," Dan 
said, shamefaced in spite of himself. 

"Was he at the wheel?" Captain Col- 
mar asked with a twitch of an eye toward 
Lane. 

Dan nodded. 

"That explains it, son," Colmar said. 
He hesitated. "I was watching through my 
glasses. Didn't you keep an eye on him?" 

"He cut the buoy?" 

Colmar nodded quickly. "I told you he 
wasn't reliable," he reminded Dan calmly. 
"That's why I finally had to take over his 
ship. All I said to you in his favor was 
that he did know the islands, the shipping 
agents, the business — " 

"Reliable or not," Dan said slowly, 
"he's got a master's ticket and it becomes 
ingrained in a man — " 

"Right!" said Captain Colmar. His 
voice remained even. "There's no use 
hunting excuses for Lane. We masters 
must be hard men about the safety of our 
ships. Lane smacked that reef because I 
sold you his ship. Some men's minds work 
like that." 

Dan grunted. "How men's minds work 
is always news to me." 

"Let's be charitable and say he's hay- 
wire," Colmar said almost indifferently. 
"Get rid of him, son." 

"When I'm sure," said Dan slowly. 
He pointed at the buoy. "You wouldn't 
check the water?" 

"You're a shipmaster now," Colmar 
said. "The story of how you hit a rock 
and then tried to blame it on a govern- 
ment marker would follow you all over 
the islands — make you a figure of fun." 

Dan nodded. 

Over on the Belle Kate chain rattled 
through a hawsepipe and the ship's anchor 
plunged into the shoal water in the shelter 
of the reef. 

"I'll lie here tonight," Colmar explained 
in response to Dan's surprise. "I'm set to 
leave at ten in the morning to grab a juicy 
five trip charter if I get another radio 
from Miami. Why aren't you heading for 
the yard. Broke?" 

"I was making up my mind," Dan said 
slowly. 

"You're wasting time," Colmar said 
calmly. He tapped his toe on the dead 
deck. "She's logy already." 



"I had some notion of beaching her — " 

Captain Colmar shook his head. "I've 
got to remind you that amateur fumbling 
won't mend this ship. That's what a ship- 
yard's for. The one here is reliable." 

"I understand you own a piece of it," 
Dan said, and watched him with some 
intensity. 

Colmar frowned very slightly. "Beside 
the point," he said. "This ship is my 
security for the five thousand you owe 
me. I have a natural interest." 

His voice became casual. "If you want 
to hand her over I'll take a look below 
and see if I can allow you anything on 
what's left of her." 

"Allow me — " 

Colmar's eyes opened widely ; a slight 
smile twisted his lips. 

"You don't think a craft like this, bare- 
ly able to stay above water, is worth much 
more than five thousand dollars, do you?" 

"I paid you — " 

"Before she was wrecked." 

Dan Carpenter shook his head. "You 
think too fast for me, captain," he said. 
"I'll need time to catch up. And I've also 
to talk to my engineer — " 

"I'm in the way," Captain Colmar said. 
He smiled encouragingly and laid a hand 
briefly on Dan's shoulder. "Son, you're 
taking this like a soldier — " 

"I'm trying to take it like a sailor," 
Dan said. 

"Get her to the yard," Colmar advised. 
"Buy yourself a drink and sleep on it. 
Now, if you'll call a hand to row me to 
my ship — " 

Further aft Cliff Bronson stuck his 
head up above the engineroom companion 
to stare at the departing visitor. His nose 
was still swelling from his recent dive and 
he fussed at it with a greasy hand. Finally 
he emerged all the way and came along 
to the pilothouse. He glanced at his 
watch and at the flaming red sunset. 

"Don't pull the brass knucks on me, 
skipper," he said gloomily. "I'm not say- 
ing I told you so. Right now we're holding 
the leaks but if one o' those pumps 
sneezes — " 

"Keep 'em turning," Dan said. He 
watched Captain Colmar board his an- 
chored vessel with smooth ease. He was 
met on deck by his engineer, a massive 
man in dungaree pants, a full head taller 



MAKE YOUR OWN LUCK 




than Colmar. They disappeared together 
into the narrow wheelhouse. Dan reached 
for the almanac. He looked up the moon 
with Cliff watching suspiciously. 

"Rises at nine minutes past midnight," 
Dan said to the inquisitive engineer. 

Cliff Bronson muttered peevishly. His 
eyes slid forward, to where John Lane was 
sitting on a hatch, hunched over, watching 
his twisting fingers. 

"That guy is cracking up," Cliff said. 
"Bad as this smells I'd say it was just 
more tough luck. But Lane's stood his 
last watch or the board of inquiry is nuts." 

"The board isn't going to like me 
either," Dan said, "unless I make myself 
some luck." 

"Huh?" 

"You heard me right," Dan said. 

"A floating nuthouse — and not so very 
high it ain't floating, neither," Cliff Bron- 
son said in disgust and stamped aft. 



WHILE the sunset blazed 
more fiercely John Lane went 
overside with a rope around 
his middle. After lung-tearing 
underwater efforts he tacked a square of 
canvas smeared thick with white lead over 
the forward hole. 

Dan had not objected to the project and 
he watched dispassionately. There was 
nothing phony about Lane's efforts ; he 
wanted to stop that leak. The job eased 
the labor of the pumps only slightly but 
it helped Dan make up his mind. While 
doubt remained in his mind he couldn't 
chuck any man of his crew onto the beach. 

Across on the anchored Belle Kate 
Captain Colmar, from behind watchful 
binoculars, roared hearty approval of 
Lane's attempt. Too hearty. 

The doctor's belated boat came out, 
gave the Islander pratique and accepted a 
carton of cigarettes. 

While the sunset's flames were dulling 
to tropic night Dan made two tentative 
passes at the sandbank south of Colmar's 
ship. Each time he reversed his single 
motor and drew away just before the 
Islander's bow took the sloping sand. 
These hesitations won no comment from 
Captain Colmar or his burly engineer. As 
darkness closed in around the leaking 
Islander the uneasiness of Dan's three 



sailors and the cook was rising almost to 
the verge of mutiny. They wanted action 
— to beach her or run her to the shipyard 
— to do something. Lane stood by in 
silence ; Cliff Branson's cracks were get- 
ting sharper. Nobody understood that the 
San Ybel shipyard meant finish without a 
fight. 

In the pilothouse Dan inspected the 
blackness of the night. Thick enough. He 
turned the wheel and headed the Islander 
toward the channel ; then called John Lane 
to the helm. 

"I'm going over in the rowboat to see 
Captain Colmar, John," he said. "Take 
her in to a berth off the pier." 

Lane drew an audible breath. "You 
want me — " 

"That's right," said Dan. "She's yours 
till I get back." 

"Cliff Bronson's been talking a lot about 
my bad luck, skipper," Lane said. His 
voice was strained. "He's letting me down 
easy. It's not just bad luck ; it can't be ! 
It's — incompetence. I've quit trying to 
find some other answer. Don't trust me 
with your ship." 

"Incompetence?" Dan said. "Captain 
Colmar says different." 

"That I meant to wreck her?" 

"That's what he said." Dan waited 
hopefully. 

"Captain Colmar lies!" John Lane 
blazed with some real spunk. 

"O.K.!" Dan said briskly. "Leave it 
to me. I'm your Old Man. Now take her 
in. Stand watch-and-watch with Cliff. If 
anything happens use your own judgment. 
Throttle her down while I get clear in 
the boat." 

He glanced into the tiny chartroom. He 
had a .38 calibre revolver in his strongbox. 
But what he was up against was too 
smooth for a gun. 

He stepped out of the wheelhouse and 
walked aft. 

"We've got a chance," he told himself. 
For once Cliff Bronson was below with a 
valve-handle in his fingers. Dan did not 
disturb him. 

He pulled the rowboat towing astern in 
alongside her quarter and dropped into 
it. The Islander slogged past him toward 
the distant lights of town. 

Quietly Dan rowed up-current from 
the lights of the Belle Kate. A hundred 



ADVENTURE 



yards away he lowered the grapnel and 
anchored the boat. He shed his shirt, 
pants and shoes and slid overside into 
black water as warm as fresh milk and 
silky smooth to his skin. 

A school of mullet was splashing around 
on the surface, fleeing from something 
bigger. Dan grunted softly and swam 
faster down-current toward the bow of 
the Belle Kate. 

There was no trick about boarding 
Captain Colmar's ship. Her anchor chain 
was ready to his reaching hands and he 
swarmed up silently onto her bow. Close 
to him the vague form of a flat, motion- 
less man showed on her forward hatch. A 
light burned in her wheelhouse and some- 
body was on the bridge, probably watch- 
ing the departure of the Islander. Dan lay 
still on deck till he had finished dripping 
and the man on the bridge had left. Then 
he made his way rapidly aft and up the 
ladder. 

He pulled aside the cover of the port 
lifeboat and slipped into the musty smell- 
ing boat. 

Ready to duck, he glanced across the 
harbor at the tart Yankee's freighter, a 
quarter mile distant, and at smaller craft 
farther away in the quiet waters. Then he 
settled down to waiting. 

The tinny chime of the wheelhouse clock 
beat out the bells of the slow passing first 
night watch. Dan writhed on the lifeboat 
bottom as discomfort became pain and 
then torture. But at last midnight was 
coming up — and with midnight would 
come the moon. 

Lights ashore were scattered now and 
only the riding lights showed on the ships. 
The Belle Kate remained dishearteningly 
silent. 

Dan stiffened suddenly. Maybe he 
wasn't so nutty. 

At this time of night when the Belle 
Kate's hands should have been sleeping 
most soundly the ship began to come to 
quiet life. Men muttered on the maindeck. 
The davit falls suspending a small boat 
at the ship's stern creaked and the boat 
took the water. 

Dan saw it creep away. 

Below, the Belle Kate's main Diesel 
began to hum. A hand entered the wheel- 
house and switched off the overhead light. 
Footsteps sounded on the bridge and then 



Captain Colmar's voice gave a guarded 
order. 

Dan, crouching in the lifeboat, followed 
by ear as the anchor chain came in and 
she got under sluggish way. All lights, 
even her riding lights, had been doused. 
Dan groped in the boat's locker until he 
found among her gear the metal case con- 
taining a dozen red lights. He held it in 
his hands, waiting. 

The ship moved only a short distance; 
then lay with no way on. Colmar left the 
bridge and walked to the focus of activity 
aft. Low voices rumbled in her stern and 
a chain clinked repeatedly. 

The man in the wheelhouse came out 
and hung over the rail. 

Dan slid out of the lifeboat with his 
metal box and drifted aft until he could 
make out the blurred movement of bodies. 
His face hardened. 

A man came hurrying forward and Dan 
flattened out on deck along the edge of a 
hatch. 

By his squat figure and faintly discerned 
silhouette the moving man was Colmar. 
He was bound for the bridge. Dan trailed 
as far as the lifeboat. 

Colmar gave an order to the wheel- 
house. The Belle Kate surged slowly 
ahead. Abandoning stealth Dan darted aft. 
He ignited red flares fast and stuck them 
along the rail. 

A red glow began breaking out along 
the ship's deck. 

Captain Colmar swore and his feet 
clattered on the bridge ladder. He raced 
aft, kicking at the flares, calling in re- 
strained fury to his milling men. The 
lights were glowing in fierce red brilliance 
now, making the Belle Kate a ship of hell. 
Dan ran to the bridge and flung overside 
a life-ring with its attached water light. 
The light plopped into a dazzling white 
glare. 

DAN climbed the ladder to 
the wheelhouse top. He flung 
back his head and let go a 
series of yelps as command- 
ing in the quiet night as the whoop of a 
destroyer's siren. They were hardly 
needed. The lights had wakened the sleep- 
ing harbor of San Ybel. 

Colmar's voice was roaring orders dead 
aft. 




MAKE YOUR OWN LUCK 



Dan jerked off the searchlight cover, 
switched on the light and swivelled it aft. 
Its brilliant white shaft pierced the red 
ferocity of the remaining flares. 

The Belle Kate's stern and the waters 
around it were as bright as a red day. 
Vividly there was revealed the black can 
buoy, just astern of the ship. A wire 
hawser from the Belle Kate's capstan was 
shackled to the buoy's mooring chain and 
the Belle Kate, still under way, was tow- 
ing the buoy and its heavy anchor through 
the water toward the channel. 

"Cast it loose! Leggo that hawser!" 
Colmar cried and his voice was gaining 
volume, losing control. "Full astern! 
Douse those lights! Overside with 'em! 
Move, you blasted fools!" 

The scene was like a well-lighted stage 
setting. And with every second more 
spectators on ships and shore would be 
watching the sea sacrilege that was taking 
place, a ship at black midnight dragging a 
sacred government marker. ' 

Nobody within a mile could miss that 
action. Dan looked toward the big freight- 
er and saw flashlights were already glint- 
ing beside one of her lifeboats. 

The man at the wheel of the Belle Kate 
completed the disaster. He signalled to 
reverse the engine, then froze on the tele- 
graph w-hile the Belle Kate began churn- 
ing backward toward the black buoy. The 
wire cable went slack and twisted in the 
water. 

As Colmar and his hands threw the 
wire off the capstan, whirling propeller 
blades twisted the wire strands of the haw- 
ser around the propeller shaft. Colmar 
was roaring. But the ship was inexorably 
secured to the black can buoy. 

Her fouled shaft ground to a stop. 

The frantic Colmar gave up his efforts 
aft. His squat body came charging up the 
path of the flashlight's glare with a mass- 
ive shackle gripped in his hand. Every 
trace of his habitual smoothness was gone. 
With no reluctance Dan moved to the head 
of the ladder. 

"Come on!" Colmar cried. "Get this 
man!" 

A new light suddenly flooded the Belle 
Kate's deck. It was a ship's searchlight, 
from a black ship close at hand. Her siren 
let go a harsh scream of warning at Col- 
mar. 



Dan recognized the screech. 

This was the Islander coming down on 
them without lights. 

Dan knew why. During the long watch 
John Lane must have worked out what 
might be up. 

He was risking his luck in the dark 
harbor to back his skipper. 

The Islander's light did not slow Col- 
mar's charge. He was past caring about 
witnesses. But across Colmar's bright path 
a man's leg suddenly stuck out. The squat 
shipmaster tripped and crashed to the 
deck. 

A big man dropped on him and pinned 
him to the deck. Somebody did not 
favor murder in public. 

"Who's that?" Dan called down. 

The Belle Kate's giant engineer planted 
a knee in the small of Colmar's back and 
squinted into the light. 

"Green, sir," he said most unctuously. 
"Are you Cap'n Carpenter of the Islander? 
I've just figgered what this snake was up 
to!" 

"No !" said Dan. 

"My own skipper, too! Likely this is 
mutiny, but I ain't standing for this rough 
stuff with gove'nment markers." 

Sudden virtue! Dan's lifted hand con- 
ceded a grin. "You didn't know?" 

"I didn't realize, sir," Green said 
smoothly. He jammed Colmar's skull 
against the deck as the captain lifted his 
head. "Last night, sir, I fell for Colmar's 
story that he was shifting that marker 
secretly because a friend o' his command- 
ing the Coast Guard buoy tender had 
placed it wrong and was going to be in a 
terrible jam." 

Green shook his head slowly and sor- 
rowfully. 

"I believed him!" he announced indig- 
nantly. 

Colmar's own smooth line was recurving 
on him now. 

"Even when he said he'd shifted the 
buoy a bit too far out o' the channel by 
mistake so the Islander hit the reef I 
believed it was just accidental," the 
righteous engineer said. "That's why I 
helped tonight to get it back. But I see 
it all now ! He did it on purpose, like he 
did John Lane dirt to get his ship off 
him." 

(Continued on page 125) 



THE REUNION 



By E. H. TOUSSAINT 



ACHTUNG! Smartly the line of 
men and dogs came to attention 
at the Oberleutnant's command, 
so that each man stood with hands stiffly 
at his sides, eyes straight front, motion- 
less; and beside each man, ten inches to 
his left, head on exact line with the man's 
left knee, stood a dog equally motionless, 
equally disciplined. 

The Oberleutnant strode briskly along 
the line inspecting each man and animal 
for every detail of equipment and appear- 
ance. When he had finished, he again took 
his position on the right, and at his suc- 
cessively barked commands the solid line 
moved forward a few paces, faced right 
to form a single marching file of men 
with a single marching file of dogs beside 
it, then broke into groups of eights and 
continued rapidly, precisely, through the 
intricate movements of the drill. 



An imposing sight this — one which, 
under other circumstances, would have 
been thrilling. The lines of uniformed 
men, marching, deploying in perfect uni- 
son ; and beside them the dogs, as alike 
in appearance as their uniformed masters 
and as expertly disciplined. Doberman 
Pinschers ; powerful black animals with 
markings of rust on jowls and lower legs ; 
cropped ears standing straight from the 
wedge-shaped heads ; spring steel muscles 
moving with an effortless fluidity which 
made their bodies seem almost to float 
rather than to impose weight upon the 
legs and the high-arched rounded paws. 
Approximately seventy pounds each of 
fiery courage and lethal striking power to 
be held in leash or exploded into action 
at the word of command. 

The sunlight* set up bright points on 
the arms and equipment of the men and 




reflected from the burnished silky black- 
ness of the dogs' coats. 

Midway of the line, Polizeihund Num- 
ber 2917 — once named in the famous 
kennel of his birth Gerd von Sigalhof — 
moved with the other dogs in perfect 
execution of the commands. Responding 
automatically to the discipline which had 
ruled his life from puppyhood he stopped, 




ILLUSTEATED BY EABL EUGENE MAYAN 

70 



Steinert was on his back, with the guard kneeling on his 

chest and slowly drawing his pistol for the finishing shot. 

71 



72 



ADVENTURE 



turned, sat, arose, ran or walked in fault- 
less obedience. Outwardly he was the 
perfect product of his training, but deep 
within him, where the feelings, the senses, 
the soul of him still dwelt, he was troubled 
and uneasy. 

To his human masters, the bright air 
carried only the usual odors from the wire 
enclosure of the concentration camp which 
they guarded — foul odors at which they 
sometimes cursed but for which they and 
others like them were responsible. But 
the sensitive nostrils of the Doberman, 
capable of separating and analyzing odors 
as the eye of the artist can separate and 
analyze colors, were filled with a scent 
which set him quivering with nostalgic 
loneliness, with anxiety and with frust- 
rated affection. Somewhere close by was 
Steinert, the man to whom he had long 
ago given the deep and lasting affection 
of which the Doberman's fiery soul is 
capable ; the one human being to whom 
he gave obedience gladly and not merely 
because discipline demanded it. 

The intricate movements of the drill 
took the company of guards up and down 
before the wire where the prisoners stood 
or moved listlessly about. In fact, the 
purpose of holding the drill here was to 
impress those prisoners with the power 
and efficiency of their human and canine 
guards so that they might see how hope- 
less would be any attempt at escape by 
day or by night from this living hell 
in which they dwelt. 

Walk, run, sit, lie down. They were 
nearing the wire now, and the scent 
poured in like a hot draught. Soon Stein- 
ert would speak ; soon the beloved hand 
would run with a firm pressure over the 
sleek head, would flatten the pointed ears 
for a moment and then pass on down the 
arched neck to finish with a sharp smack 
on the hard-muscled shoulder. Then all 
the great dog's world would be right 
again. The long period of lonely waiting 
would have ended. But the Oberleutnant 
barked another command; they turned 
from the wire, formed their long line and 
marched off in the direction of the bar- 
racks. Steinert had not come forward. 
Steinert had not spoken. The loneliness 
descended again. The waiting, the piti- 
ful timeless waiting of a dog for his mas- 
ter, continued. 



!fi 



INSIDE the wire, men, or 
what had once been men, sat or 
stood or moved listlessly about, 
pale, emaciated, their faces 
drawn to the thinness of caricatures, their 
bodies shrunken by starvation so that 
their clothing hung ludicrously about 
them. Of all ages and social strata, they 
were now alike in their raggedness, their 
filth, and the air of utter hopelessness 
which bore them down — all except one 
who, despite his thinness and his rags, 
had about him an air of self-respect, of 
competence which was recognized by 
prisoners and guards alike. He was as 
starved as the others, as ragged. His 
clothes hung about him like the cast-off 
garments on an effigy, but in some way 
or other he had managed to keep aloof 
from filth and to keep his mind from 
despair, so that the unconquerable spirit 
shone through and marked him as one 
apart. A fighting man this, much of his 
strength now gone, but with the fighting 
soul still hot and strong within him. For 
Steinert had always been a fighting man, 
and if he died here, as he probably was 
destined to do, he would die a fighting 
man. They could starve him — and they 
had. They could beat him — his body bore 
scars both old and new. But when at last 
they killed him they would have to stand 
back from his fists and feet and they 
would have to hear him cursing them as 
he died. 

Steinert was new to this prison, having 
been brought here only yesterday from 
another concentration camp which was 
being discontinued, and this was the first 
time he had seen the guards and dogs 
drilling outside the wire. He knew why 
they drilled there. He was in sympathy 
with the growls and muttered curses of 
his fellow-prisoners as they watched, but 
he could not help standing straight and 
bright-eyed with interest when he saw 
the Dobermans. He could not know, of 
course, that among these dogs was an 
old friend. They were too much alike 
in appearance for him to pick out an 
individual and identify it at that distance, 
but he watched and strained his eyes for 
a glimpse of a tell-tale scar across one of 
the wedge-shaped skulls. Once he almost 
thought he saw it but he could not be 
sure, and when he moved closer to the 
wire for a better look the sentry warned 



THE REUNION 



73 



him back with an oath. Afterward he 
realized that probably the momentary 
sight of a scar had been only the creation 
of his imagination — the product of his 
wishful thinking. 

This friendship between man and dog 
was the attachment of those who have 
been brothers in arms. They had served 
together in the police force of the old 
Republic, before murderous maniacs had 
come to power and made the police the 
instrument of brutal oppression. Then 
the police had been truly the guardians 
of the peace, a body of trained, efficient 
men, respected by decent citizens and pro- 
foundly feared by those who sought to 
live outside the law. In those days only 
able men could serve in the police ranks 
and a man could be proud of the uniform 
he wore. Steinert had worn that uniform 
for many years and had contributed per- 
haps more than his share to the honor in 
which it was held. 

Gerd, the dog, had been selected by 
the police trainers when he was a six- 
months-old puppy, purchased from the 
famous kennels where he had been 
whelped, and shipped to the police school. 
There for nearly two years he had under- 
gone the rigorous training which fitted 
dogs to. work with human policemen in 
every phase of their duties from routine 
patrols to life and death battles with des- 
perate criminals. 

First he had been taught to distrust 
anyone who came as a stranger without 
proper introduction. For the first several 
weeks of his stay at the school he had 
been kept in an enclosure by himself with 
frequent visits from one man — always the 
same man. This man fed him, petted him. 



played with him. Then one day a stranger 
entered the enclosure. The dog greeted 
him with puppy friendliness, only to be 
rewarded by the terrifying cracking of a 
whip which the stranger produced from 
under his coat. Frightened at first, the 
puppy backed into a corner but finally, in 
desperation, he showed fight. Immediate- 
ly the stranger ran out and closed the door 
after him. Within a few minutes the 
regular trainer entered the enclosure and 
petted and fed the dog. The next day 
another stranger came in, and the per- 
formance was repeated. It did not require 
many repetitions with different men be- 
fore Gerd learned that the way to avoid 
the whip-cracking and unpleasantness was 
to snarl and threaten immediately when 
any stranger came through the door. 

Then one day the regular trainer came 
in bringing another man with him. Gerd 
was puzzled and aloof, but his trainer 
called him and introduced the stranger, 
repeating over and over the word 
"friend," and the other man petted the 
dog and tossed a ball for him. In succeed- 
ing days the performance was alternated. 
Whenever a stranger entered without the 
trainer he threatened the dog until he was 
driven from the enclosure. Whenever a 
stranger was introduced by the trainer 
he turned out to be a pleasant enough 
fellow. The Doberman is frequently called 
"the dog with the human brain." It was 
only a matter of days until Gerd knew 
that people not properly introduced were 
all dangerous and that people who were 
properly introduced were all pleasant 
folk. 

Then there was the little matter of ac- 
cepting food. A piece of meat found on 



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74 



ADVENTURE 



the floor of the enclosure and gulped with 
puppy hunger turned out to be loaded 
with red pepper which set his mouth and 
throat on fire and made his eyes stream. 
A morsel accepted from even a properly 
introduced stranger without the trainer's 
permission was similarly loaded — always. 
But if it came from the hand of the trainer 
or was given to him by someone else with 
the trainer's permission it was good — • 
always. So he learned not to pick up food 
or to accept food except from proper 
source or with proper authorization. 

This was only the beginning. These 
were the simplest things. And after- 
ward came long weeks and months of in- 
tensive training as he progressed through 
the program carefully laid out and skill- 
fully followed by men whose profession 
was training and who were aware of the 
all-important fact that a dog, deprived 
of the power of speech and of the ability 
to fully understand speech, can learn only 
by his own experiences ; that the same 
reward and the same penalty must follow 
the same act without one single variation 
or reversal. 

WHEN, after nearly two years, 
he was "graduated" from the 
school, he could do an amazing 
variety of things. He could 
pick out from a pile of miscellaneous 
objects the one or two or three which 
had been handled or sworn by a single in- 
dividual whose scent he had been given. 
He could locate in a group of twenty or 
thirty people the one individual whose 
scent had been given to him on a gar- 
ment worn. He could leap at a ten-foot- 
high wall, catch his forelegs over the top 
and drag his body up and over and leap 
down on the other side. He knew how to 
bore in on a man with a blazing pistol, 
zigzagging at lightning speed so that he 
made an almost unhittable target until 
he was close enough to spring and seize 
the man's forearm in a crushing grip 
which opened his fingers and sent his gun 
clattering to the ground. He would, on 
command, knock a man to the ground 
and hold him pinned there, unharmed ; 
but, also at command, he was quite cap- 
able of tearing the man's throat out. He 
responded instantly — almost automatically 
• — to every word of command without 
regard to any instinct or feeling or desire 




of his own. Affection for any individual 
was a feeling completely unknown to 
him. He gave perfect obedience to what- 
ever individual had been placed in charge 
of him. He ignored all others, with the 
Doberman's blank, straight-ahead stare. 

He was, in short, the perfect product 
of the police school, a machine, a potential 
bolt of lethal lightning, wholly and en- 
tirely subject to the will and the command 
of man. 

He had been assigned then to patrol 
duty at night with a police officer in the 
tough waterfront section of a port city. 
It was an area of wharves and ware- 
houses, not frequented by the usual water- 
front riff-raff, who found nothing there 
to attract them, but the valuable contents 
of the warehouses offered a rich return 
for boldly executed thievery — and the 
maze of alleys and narrow dark streets 
provided tempting cover for those who 
would attempt such forays. Through the 
long hours of each night the man and dog 
moved through the threatening darkness, 
alone except for each other, alert and 
strong and unafraid — the Law. 

The police officer's name was Steinert. 

Four years they served together there, 
and in those years they earned three cita- 
tions of special merit for gallant and suc- 
cessful action against superior numbers 
of men ready and desperately willing to 
kill rather than be taken in the act of 
robbery. In and on their bodies too they 
carried certain permanent mementoes of 
those days : a bullet which the surgeon 
decided not to remove from Steinert's 
body, and the scars of two vicious knife 
thrusts ; a scar made b)' a creasing bullet 
along the top of the dog's wedge-shaped 
skull and another made by the ripping 
thrust of a heavy knife in his breast. But 
the man who had fired those bullets and 
the men who had made the knife thrusts 
had been brought in by the policeman 
and the dog, weak from loss of blood 
but still on their feet and in control of 
the situation. 

Something else had occurred too in 
those years, for life had not been all 
fighting and danger through the long 
hours of those nights. There had been 
time for the feeding of tidbits, for the 
teaching of special tricks; even, occasion- 
ally, for the tossing and catching of a ball 



THE REUNION 



75 



on the broad expanse of a moonlit wharf. 
At midnight, when they had a half hour 
rest period, they would sit looking out 
over the restless harbor water side by 
side, and often the man's powerful arm 
would lie about the hard-muscled neck 
and shoulders of the dog and he would 
talk quietly to him. So had grown the 
bond between these two — rooted deeply in 
the lonely soul of the fighting man and in 
the heart of Gerd von Sigalhof, deprived 
in his puppyhood of the Doberman's birth- 
right of undying love for a single human 
being. 

It was early in their fifth year of service 
together that the trouble began for them. 
One night Steinert was kept off his patrol 
for several hours while another man 
took his place. When he returned, just 
before midnight, he was taut with anger. 
Gerd sensed it, for the relation of the 
Doberman to the one chosen master is 
close, and what the man feels the dog 
feels with him. 

Then, two nights later, an Inspector of 
Police intercepted them when they were 
partly through their second patrol. An- 
other policeman was with him. The in- 
spector acknowledged Steinert's salute 
and spoke curtly — a command. When 
this was not obeyed he spoke again, his 
tone more peremptory. Steinert said no 
word ; made no move ; only stood stock- 
still and looked with hard eyes at the 
inspector while the muscles stood out in 
ridges along his clenched jaw. And 
through that mysterious bond which links 
dog and master Gerd sensed his feeling 
and shared it, so that a matching fire of 
rage kindled and burned within him, so 
that the hair on his back and on the top of 
his powerful neck rose and stood like a 
mane while a snarl gathered deep in his 
throat. The inspector was nothing to him. 
A man who was Steinert's enemy was his 
enemy also, to be attacked if permitted and 
killed if the master so commanded. 

Then the tension was broken. Steinert's 
lips moved in a restraining command so 
that the dog lay down at his side. Moving 
slowly, as if his fingers were numbed, 
Steinert unfastened the short leash which 
hung unused at his belt, snapped one end 
in the ring on the dog's collar, and handed 
the other end to the policeman who stood 
beside the inspector. It was the ceremony 



of turning over command. It meant that 
the dog was now to obey the commands 
of the man to whom the leash had been 
delivered. 

That had been the end of it except that, 
just before Steinert went away with the 
inspector he had turned back and, stoop- 
ing, had run his hand over the dog's 
skull, momentarily flattening the sharp 
ears, then down along the neck to the hard 
muscles of the shoulder. It was his usual 
gesture of caress, but tonight Steinert 
pressed his hand hard as if to put into it 
the full power of some strong emotion. 
Then he went away, walking beside the 
inspector. 

That was the last time Gerd had seen 
his master. 

It had been the end of service and the 
end of liberty for Steinert. A basic part 
of the Nazi strategy had been to remove 
men like him from the police force and 
to replace them with gangsters who could 
be depended upon to carry out any orders 
without question and without regard to 
law or human decency. 

Each man's records were examined 
thoroughly for material on which to base 
his expulsion, and Steinert's record was 
made to order for their purposes. It 
showed that his mother was of Jewish 
descent, a quite sufficient cause for his 
dismissal. Dismissal might for the time 
being have been all, if he had fawned 
and crawled, but he didn't. When con- 
fronted with the evidence of his "crime" 
he not only had failed to be apologetic but 
be had been proud and defiant. It was 
not his nature to grovel. It was his nature 
to fight. He had cursed his inquisitors 
and called them the gutter scum that they 
were and so, in first one prison and then 
another, he had earned the reputation 
of being stubborn, dangerous and hard 
to handle. 

Every move had meant for Steinert 
a prison where the treatment was more 
harsh, the conditions more heart-breaking, 
than the last. Now he had reached bottom 
— and he knew it. This was the great 
camp from which men did not emerge 
alive — or women or children either. Death 
did not come quickly here. It came only 
after starvation, beatings, humiliation. 
Then the gas chamber if one was lucky, 
or the medical experiment laboratory if 
one was not. 



7« 



ADVENTURE 



4r 



It was two weeks after the 
day when Gerd had first 
caught Steinert's scent before 
he had any further indication 
of his nearness. He was one of a detail 
of guards and dogs waiting at the main 
prison gate shortly after dawn to take out 
a work party. They stood back a few 
paces from the gate, on either side of the 
dusty road which led into the wire en- 
closure. A smaller gate, set into the big 
one, would open at intervals to let out 
prisoners in groups of three or four. A 
guard standing just outside the gate would 
check their numbers and send them on to 
join others already waiting ankle-deep in 
the dust of the road. The prisoners an- 
swered tonelessly as their numbers were 
called. They shuffled rather than walked 
up the road to join the group waiting 
there. 

They would have been ludicrous in their 
rags if they had not been so pitiful. Gerd, 
like the other dogs, watched them with 
mild interest while they moved ; paid them 
no attention after they stopped. He sat 
on his haunches, alert but at ease — a sol- 
dier on routine duty. Then the gate 
clicked open again and at the same instant 
the dog's nostrils were filled with a warm 
scent which brought him sharply to his 
feet, his body tense and trembling and 
a little shuddering sound of eagerness 
gathering in his throat. A man came out 
alone ; a big man who held himself erect ; 
who did not shuffle but walked with a 
clean stride ; who answered the guard in 
a voice which was not toneless but firm 
and brisk; a fighting man — Steinert. 

At the actual sight of him, at the sound 
of his voice, Gerd von Sigalhof was almost 
beside himself; but the iron discipline, the 
habit of meticulous obedience, held Po- 
lizeihund Number 2917 rooted to the spot 
where he stood, trembling, making that 
eager shuddering sound in his throat, 
pleading mutely for recognition but un- 
able to move from his assigned place to 
seek it. And there was no recognition, 
neither here nor on the long dragging 
march out to the farmlands, nor during 
the long work hours of that day. 

With all the Doberman's quick intelli- 
gence, with all his ability to learn, he 
still is a dog, with a good dog's honesty. 
He has never learned to dissemble nor to 
recognize dissembling by others. Gerd 



could not know how Steinert's heart had 
leaped when, beside the road at the prison 
gate, he had seen the bullet-furrowed 
skull, the scar in the knife-ripped breast. 
He could not know that when, in mid- 
morning, Gerd had pulled a little too 
hard on the leash and the beefy guard 
had yanked savagely on his choke collar, 
Steinert's hands had clenched hard on the 
rake he was holding as he choked down 
his wrathful protest at such mistreatment. 

Steinert had heard that shuddering 
sound in the dog's throat; had seen the 
trembling of his body ; and he had in- 
terpreted correctly. He knew that if he 
gave but the slightest sign the animal 
would come bounding to him — and would 
be promptly shot by the guards. And so 
he had done that most difficult of all dif- 
ficult things: he had, after all these years, 
refused to give a sign of friendship to a 
beloved comrade who was pleading for 
it with an eloquence far more potent than 
that of any human word or gesture. 

It was shortly after noon when the 
trouble occurred. Working next to Stein- 
ert, piling hay as Steinert raked, was an 
old man, a Jew with the serene eyes of a 
rabbi — which he was. All day he had 
worked steadily and without a murmur of 
complaint. Steinert had felt surprise that 
his slight old frame could put forth so 
much energy. But now he was weakening. 
The heat of the August sun, the weakness 
of under-nourishment, were telling. Sev- 
eral times, when the guard was at the 
other end of the line of workers, Steinert 
had helped him pile hay to catch up with 
the raking, but now he was falling back 
again and the guard was coming along 
the line, angrily bellowing at him to work 
faster. 

The old man raised his head at the sound 
of the guard's voice. For an instant he 
looked at the guard, steadily, quietly. 
Then, just as quietly, his knees began to 
buckle and he slid forward, face down in 
the stubble. The guard, mouthing curses, 
came and stood over him. Then he drew 
back his booted foot for a kick, but it was 
never delivered. A powerful hand seized 
his shoulder and swung him half around 
so that he looked into the hard, lean face 
and furious eyes of Steinert only a few 
inches from his own. "Don't touch him, 
gutter rat," Steinert rasped — and knew 
that he was signing his own death war- 



THE REUNION 



77 



rant. The Nazi was indeed what Steinert 
had called him — a rat. Furious though 
he was, and armed against a weaponless 
man, he took the precaution to glance 
around quickly for help and, seeing no 
other guard close by, he merely growled 
a threat and walked away. Face to face 
encounters with angry men were not in his 
line. He wanted superior numbers ; an 
excuse to shoot from behind. But he 
would wait, and not forget. Steinert knew 
the type. It would come before this day 
was over and he would not get a chance to 
defend himself. He lifted the old man 
and laid him near one of the haystacks 
where he would get at least a little protec- 
tion from the direct sun and where a guard 
would not be so likely to notice him. Then 
he went back to work, raking fast and 
then piling to keep up with the other 
prisoners. The men on either side helped 
him as best they could. The guard had 
not come back. 

IT WAS almost sunset be- 
fore the guards told them to 
stop work and pile their 
tools. Then Steinert woke 
the old man and he got up, rested but em- 
barrassed and apologetic. When another 
prisoner told him what had happened, he 
was frightened — not for himself but for 
Steinert. "My son, they will kill you 
for this," he said. "Better that you had 
let him kill me." 

Steinert grinned. "Good riddance," he 
said. "You will yet return to your people 
and you will be worth something. I am 
not worth anything any more." 

When the line was formed to leave the 
field two guards stepped up to Steinert and 
one of them touched him on the arm. 
"Wait here," he said. "You will be at 
the rear." The line moved off with its 
slow shuffling gait and Steinert fell in at 
the end of it. Behind ■ him were two 
guards, the one he had threatened and 
another, holding a dog on leash. Stein- 
ert's pulse quickened. It was the beefy 
guard, and the dog he held was Gerd. 

Slowly the line dragged itself along 
the road, the dust rising to hang waist- 
high like a gray haze in the evening air. 
The shuffling of many feet made a soft 
brushing sound. Behind him Steinert 
could hear the heavier tread of the guards' 
boots, and he listened for any change of 



pace to indicate that one of them was 
slowing to aim a pistol at his back or 
coming closer to shoot him at point-blank 
range. 

The road led through a small grove 
where the trees made an avenue of semi- 
darkness now that the sun was low. When 
they were partway through it one of the 
guards called to Steinert to halt. He 
obeyed, and turned to face them. The 
beefy guard, holding the dog, was a few 
paces away. The other, the one Steinert 
had threatened, stood a little to one side. 
The line of prisoners shuffled on. The 
brushing sound of their feet drew farther 
and farther away until finally it was lost. 
A sudden fluttering in the treetops 
sounded startlingly loud as a belated bird 
sought its shelter for the night. 

At last the beefy guard spoke. "Now, 
my friend, we are going to give you a 
little lesson — a lesson to others too, for 
they will learn it in the morning when 
they come here to bury you." He stooped 
quickly and unsnapped the leash from 
the dog's collar. The other guard drew 
his pistol from its holster and slipped off 
the safety. Steinert's voice rose suddenly 
now in a high-pitched, frightened wail. 
"Don't. Don't. Don't let the dog kill me. 
Anything but that. Please." He dropped 
to his knees in the dust and began drag- 
ging himself toward the guard, his hands 
raised in panic pleading. The guard stood 
watching him, making no move until 
Steinert was close, directly in front of 
him. Then he drew back his heavy boot 
and kicked savagely at Steinert's face. 

This move was what Steinert had ex- 
pected. It was standard procedure. It 
was what he had played for. He twisted 
his body aside so that the boot heel only 
grazed his arm, and the next instant he 
had seized the outflung leg with both 
hands and was lifting it as he came up 
powerfully from his knees. Caught off 
balance, the guard was flung backward 
so heavily that he was momentarily 
stunned despite the cushioning effect of 
the soft dust. Steinert spoke the dog's 
name twice — "Gerd, Gerd!" and gave an 
order. Then he threw himself on the 
prostrate guard, not waiting to learn 
whether his order had been obeyed or 
whether the dog, confused by his sud- 
den assumption of authority, his memory 
dimmed by the long years of separation, 



78 



ADVENTURE 



had hesitated or refused. He knew that if 
the dog failed him he had only an instant 
to live before a bullet would come tear- 
ing into his back from the other guard's 
pistol, but meanwhile he must play this 
one slim string to the very end with every 
ounce of desperate strength he could bring 
to the attack. He seized the thick throat 
with both hands. His knee slammed down 
hard to pin the hand which was trying to 
draw the pistol from its holster. 

The man beneath him writhed and 
strained in his grasp and the blood drum- 
med in Steinert's ears as he strove to 
keep his hold. Then, behind him, he heard 
the other guard's voice raised in a sharp 
order; a quick, startled curse, the ter- 
rible deep-throated snarl of the attack- 
ing Doberman ; the punctuation of two 
pistol shots ; a shrill scream. Beyond that 
he could hear nothing for the beefy guard 
was fully recovered now and fighting 
desperately. With his free hand he clawed 
and beat to break Steinert's grip on his 
throat. His thrusting knees dealt hideous 
punishment, and steadily his other hand 
worked nearer the holstered pistol. 

They fought like animals, the thick dust 
and blood in their mouths and their 
eyes. The guard was a powerful man. as 
big and well-muscled as Steinert had ever 
been, but not as skillful ; stronger than 
Steinert was now after the years of 
starvation ; motivated by fear as Steinert 
was by blazing hatred and desperation — 
and inevitably the starved years began 
to tell. Steinert felt the weak trembling 
in his body ; felt the strength going out 
of his hands as they slipped from the 
sweat-greasy throat. 

Steinert was half rolled as the guard 
twisted free, and then he was on his back 
with the guard kneeling on his chest and 
slowly drawing his pistol for the finishing 
shot. Steinert's sight clouded for an in- 
stant from sheer exhaustion. Then, with a 
last supreme effort of will, he forced it 
clear to look, open-eyed and defiant, into 




this place. 



the dirt-caked, bloody, sweating mask of 
triumph and hatred which leered above 
him. And so it was that he saw the sleek 
black body come through the air in its 
panther-like spring ; saw in a last brief in- 
stant of consciousness, the knife-scarred 
breast and the clipped ears lying flat to 
the wedge-shaped skull as the white fangs 
struck home in the trained killer's lethal 
slash. 

IT WAS full star-lit dark 
when they finished doing 
those things which must be 
done before they could leave 
It was graying dawn when 
they crossed the first ridge of the moun- 
tain range and found a clean little stream 
coming down through the thick woods at 
its foot. They drank thirstily of the 
bright clear water and after Steinert had 
washed the filth from his hands and face 
and arms they sat down to rest for a few 
moments, man and dog side by side, their 
bodies pressed close. 

They still had a long way to go, and 
there was danger and possible death ahead, 
but for now they were together and for 
a moment it seemed like the old nights 
on patrol, back in that other, ordered 
world, when they sat thus side by side 
and looked out over the restless harbor 
water. 

Steinert's arm went out and lay around 
the powerful shoulders of the dog, and 
Steinert talked to him, as lonely men will 
talk to a beloved dog: "Well, old com- 
rade, we still have a way to go, and we 
may not make it through — but then again 
we may, for we are two together and 
whatever comes we shall this time stay to- 
gether — nicht wahrf" His arm drew a 
little tighter around the muscular should- 
ers. The flat, scarred head turned quickly 
then and a pink tongue touched Steinert's 
face — just once — as if in answer and in 
thankfulness that the long time of lone- 
liness and waiting was at an end. 




The Scarf of 'Shane 



By THOMAS GILCHRIST 




IN THE hands of O'Shane, the scarf 
had strangled a native to death in 
Madagascar. And now, used as a 
cummerbund, it served the prosaic pur- 
pose of holding up his white pants. To 
O'Shane it was much more than a belt, 
of course. Being associated with the 
strongest deed of his life, it was also a 



Suddenly, O'Shane's heart 
turned over and he 
slammed the port shut 
with a muttered curse. 



sj'mbol of his prowess, and he was wont 
to straighten his narrow shoulders and 
fill out his chest whenever his fingers 
should happen to touch it. 

Mr. O'Shane, first officer of the Salauar, 
had never been quite the same since he 
had acquired that scarf. He was not a 
strong man. He was, in fact, a very weak 



ILLCSTBATED BY B0GEH L. THOMAS 
79 



80 



ADVENTURE 



man, not so much physically as in other 
ways. His eyes were small, pale blue and 
shifty. The heavy and untidy yellow 
mustache from beneath which he con- 
stantly sprayed tobacco juice failed to hide 
the meanness of his mouth. His voice was 
nasal and uncertain, often petulant. He 
frequently forgot to wash and his hair 
seldom knew a comb. 

Being the negative sort of man he was, 
he was naturally immensely proud of the 
Madagascar affair ; and, anyway, it was 
a fine scarf, as he often pointed out : heavy 
silk, a cloth of native fabrication, gorge- 
ously streaked with yellow and black and 
with strange glints of green when the 
light caught it just right. It was as beau- 
tiful as a cobra. 

It had belonged to the native girl, and 
Mr. O'Shane had one or two other souve- 
nirs of that night : a glittering stone with 
thin screw-wire that had pierced her left 
nostrils ; a little anklet of shark's teeth ; a 
heavy gold bangle and some other trinkets 
he had found in the leaf built hut. All 
were mementos of (to him) the magnifi- 
cent force of Mr. O'Shane. He did not 
trouble to remember that in the province 
of Majunga and under French rule the 
natives were generally docile on pain of 
death. 

The other mementos he kept in a 
drawer, whence he would refer to them 
in secret moments. But he always wore 
the scarf about his waist. It excited com- 
ment and gave him the opportunity of 
telling his story from time to time. At 
first he had been very careful not to 
wrinkle the scarf. He had wound it ten- 
derly about his waist and clipped the end 
with a large safety pin. But gradually the 
thing had stretched, though without losing 
any of its beauty, and he had acquired a 
certain nonchalance and now he merely 
fastened it with a big knot . . . 

O'SHANE had gone ashore 
that night even more bent on 
evil than was his wont. Per- 
haps the climate had some- 
thing to do with it ; perhaps it was too 
much gin and vermouth. Certainly, lib- 
eral drinks of the local firewater after din- 
ner had set his blood on fire. And then 
there were his usual appetites, the hot, 
whispering night, the big stars, the reck- 




less sense of being in a country where 
the white man was king and the natives 
flinched when one went by. Whatever it 
was, O'Shane had left the white settle- 
ment to its club, its billiards, its bar and 
its gossip and lurched along the jungle 
path to where the leaf-and-cane huts of 
the native village sat and sweated in the 
clearing, the scents of the jungle about 
them and the low, sustained droning of 
insect life making the steamy darkness 
pulse. And he had found the hut he 
wanted. 

He had seen her that afternoon. She 
was coming up from the river. There was 
a basket on her head, a basketful of red 
and green fabrics she had evidently been 
washing. Head erect on the smooth col- 
umn of her neck, her carriage was mag- 
nificent, her long legs, her rippling thighs 
carried her along with a sensuous grace 
that O'Shane had never seen. Her breasts 
were erect, too, and when she turned he 
saw that every little muscle in her smooth 
back was alive. Her arms, one of which 
was decorated with bangles that shone in 
the sunlight, were softly molded. She was 
a goddess in ebony ; a Comoran Islander, 
O'Shane would have said. 

She had not seen the white man watch- 
ing her, and O'Shane knew better than to 
startle her. He remained concealed, sweat- 
ing behind the tetai tree, and noted the 
hut she entered. 

Secretly, O'Shane broke into cold per- 
spiration when he thought of the native 
who had unexpectedly entered the dark 
hut that night. He could still hear the 
hoarse cry and the swish of a knife drawn 
from within a lava-lava ; and the cries of 
the woman. Desperately, he had leapt to 
his feet, groped in the dark for a weapon. 
And as the woman cried out, the native 
had dropped down to her side, and with 
scarcely any conscious volition O'Shane 
had kicked out with his heavy boot. It 
was then he became aware of the scarf 
in his hands, the scarf his groping fingers 
had found, and in sheer panic he pounced 
and drew it tight about the man's neck. 

His version of the story was different, 
of course. Self-defense : 'A native gone 
berserk as he passed through the village; 
his woman dragging the body into a hut. 
Why, the woman was probably nuts, too. 
She had laid a curse upon him ! 



THE SCARF OF O'SHANE 



81 



O'Shane would chuckle when he told 
of the native curse. He would chuckle 
when he told the story out on deck and 
in daylight, or when he told it to new 
shipmates in the saloon; or in the bar- 
rooms of the Orient with a bottle of 
whiskey before him. But alone in his 
room, or in the immense silence of the 
night-watch, he would remember her 
crouched there in the corner of the hut 
beside the body of her man, scarcely more 
than the whites of her eyes visible, her 
teeth flashing as her mouth formed words, 
slowly, coldly and with terrible intensity ; 
and the dirge that the insects played out- 
side in the jungle. 

It was then that O'Shane would find 
himself flicking the sweat from his brow 
with a trembling hand ; and, if he were 
on the bridge, looking from the cover of 
darkness at the native helmsman whose 
eyes glittered, whose face appeared to 
float without a body, in the light from 
the binnacle. And he would go over and 
quiz him and check his origin again, for 
O'Shane had made sure that never since 
had a Comoran Islander joined the crew. 

THAT had all been a year 
ago, and since then O'Shane 
had enjoyed the reputation 
that his scarf kept alive, for he 
had not been backward in telling his story 
of the night's adventure. Particularly, he 
liked to tell of the curse the woman had 
set upon him. 

"Setting snakes after me," he would 
chuckle. "Can ye fancy that ? 'The snake 
will come,, white man,' she says, or some- 
thing. Snakes? It's the queer ideas those 
natives have." 

There was a touch of bravado in this. 
The morning after the Madagascar affair, 
when the Salawar was at sea, Mr. O'Shane 
had recounted the story to Mr. Watson, 
the chief engineer, and Mr. Watson had 
shaken his head. 

"I don't know," he had said. "I don't 
know, Mr. O'Shane. Those natives have 
queer ideas, all right, but I wouldn't laugh 
if I were you. I knew a feller once in 
Haiti who got a native sore at him and 
the native set spiders on him. Yes, spiders ! 
An' I'm blamed if he didn't find 'em all 
over the place after that. He'd always 
run into two or three in his bunk when 




he went to turn in, an' he'd have to shake 
'em out of his shoes in the mornin'. That's 
a fact ! Out of his shoes. They'd get into 
his tobacco somehow, and into his water 
and into his clothes. I don't know how. 
I'm just telling you. Spiders, all sorts 
an' shapes of spiders. Big fellers an' little 
fellers. The man went crazy at last . . . 
just blew up an' jumped overside. We 
found a whoppin' big tarantula sittin' on 
his desk afterwards." 

"You don't mean to tell me there's any- 
thing in those native curses?" demanded 
O'Shane uneasily. 

"I don't mean to tell you nothin'," 
said the chief engineer. 

"But what in hell did she mean by 
settin' snakes on me?" O'Shane inquired. 

The chief engineer was a morbid man. 
"Well," he said with relish, "I do hear 
some o' those natives worship a sort o' 
snake. Kinda devil-god, you know. They 
tell me that when they want to get even 
with you they just wish the snake on 
you." 

"Sure it's a lot o' rot, it is. Bloody 
rot!" said Mr. O'Shane emphatically. 

"Maybe," agreed the Chief. "But I'm 
just sayin' I wouldn't laugh — yet." 

But Mr. O'Shane did laugh and he 
continued to tell his story. But each time 
he told it there seemed to be something 
inside him that made the whole thing 
sound wrong. Long-forgotten Irish tales 
of banshees at dark window panes came 
back to him and they began to take on 
at least a suspicion of reality. He couldn't 
forget the man who had spiders set upon 
him, and the more men he tackled on the 
subject of native curses the more his 
laughter took on a hollow note. For 
planters, traders and seamen to whom he 
casually introduced the subject were all 
dubious. They had lived a long time south 
and east of Hell's Gate and they had seen 
things . . . and heard things . . . 

"It's a lot o' bunk!" declared Mr. 
O'Shane, but whenever he thought of it 
he took an extra long pull on the bottle to 
stop his nerves from twitching. He was 
a weak man. And it did not help mat- 
ters that many of his fellow officers took 
to chaffing him about snakes. 

This present voyage, for example. The 
Salawar was pushing her blunt and rusty 
snout into the lazy swell of a shimmering 
Indian Ocean. They were bound for 



82 



ADVENTURE 



Moulmein for a cargo of teakwood logs 
for Bombay, and the second mate re- 
minded Mr. O'Shane of a certain disturb- 
ing fact. 

"Teakwood logs, eh?" he said. "You'd 
better look out, then. You know you can 
load as many snakes as logs up that stink- 
ing river." 

"Oh, shut up!" snarled Mr. O'Shane. 

"Well, I thought you'd just like to be 
reminded. That wench back in Madagas- 
car might have a special snake fixed up 
for you." 

O'Shane stumped away for a drink. 

But the Salawar loaded teakwood logs 
for a week without incident. Her first 
officer thought snakes for a week and 
could not forget them even with frequent 
reference to his supply of Highland Nec- 
tar. Teakwood logs being what they are, 
and Moulmein being what it is, ship's 
officers had to think of snakes even in the 
ordinary run of events. As it happened, 
there wasn't even a minor sting among 
the native stevedores. But just the same 
Mr. O'Shane breathed a sigh of relief 
when the Salawar finally pushed her 
creaking, leisurely way seaward once 
more, the holds full and on her decks a 
cargo that rose to a height of eight feet. 

MR. O'SHANE left the 
bridge that night at eight 
o'clock, sticky and sweating 
from the heat and desperately 
in need of a drink. 

The heat in his cabin was terrific. His 
duck pants and cotton singlet clung to 
his wet body. He plucked at them, loos- 
ened his clothes a little, then unscrewed 
his for'ard port, which opened on deck. 
And suddenly his heart turned over and 
he slammed it shut again with a mut- 
tered curse. 

"Mother o' God !" he exclaimed. "What 
a nest for snakes!" The hollow end of a 
log was against the port. 

O'Shane flicked the sweat from his 
forehead and sat down, limp. He noticed 
his hands were trembling as he picked 
up his log book and he swore between his 
teeth. 

"I'm getting like an old woman, that's 
what!" he told himself savagely, and 
reaching for his whiskey bottle he poured 
himself a stiff drink. He secured his 




chewing tobacco, his log book, his pen 
and ink and oil lamp, and he went into 
the saloon where it might be cooler. 

The breaking of the darkness as he 
brought his lamp into the place sent the 
cockroaches scurrying over the edge of 
the table, and setting his things down 
O'Shane vented some of his feelings upon 
them, stamping them into nothing on the 
deck. The Salawar rolled a little to the 
ground swell. He steadied himself, then 
dropped into a chair with a grunt of re- 
lief and arranged his log book for writing. 

He called to the boy in the pantry. 

"Fetch me a candle," he ordered sharp- 
ly. "This damned lamp would roast the 
devil himself. And then ye can make me 
a cup o' tea." He muttered to himself, 
ripped off his sweat-soaked singlet, and 
all but naked he went to work. 

Now, just why it is that a sudden and 
all but irrelevant thought will come to a 
man may not be known. O'Shane was 
utterly absorbed in his log book, was 
thinking of nothing else. All that could 
be heard were the little sounds that only 
accentuate the silence : the scraping of his 
pen, the tiny noises of the cockroaches, 
the tired creaking of the beams as the 
ship rolled to the swell, and overhead the 
occasional footsteps of the third mate 
moving restlessly on the bridge. O'Shane 
was utterly absorbed in his log book and 
yet his mind clicked, as it were, in mid- 
career and he heard something else. 

He heard the voice of the woman, as 
cold — as cold as death. And he could have 
sworn that the man he had killed was 
standing by his shoulder, his teeth grin- 
ning, his eyes glittering. 

O'Shane stopped writing and he did 
not dare to lift his eyes from his log 
book. He sat petrified for a moment, not 
breathing. And then he set his teeth and 
cursed. It was a lot of rot! He needed 
another drink, that was all. His nerves 
were going to pieces. The damned cli- 
mate ! The fever mists of Moulmein . . . 
perhaps that was it. A touch of fever. 
A man did hear things at such times. 
He swallowed hard and could feel his heart 
pounding in his ears. He cursed again 
and turned with a jerk to shoot a nervous 
spit into the spittoon. And then he froze 
in his chair! 

He saw it on the deck, in the shadows 



THE SCARF OF O'SHANE 



83 



right at his feet, lying in a perfect coil, 
hood up and not eighteen inches from his 
right leg. He could even see it swaying 
in the candlelight as the ship gently 
rolled. He stared, petrified, his face dead 
white. And he couldn't move a finger ! 

He tried to get up. He tried to shout 
for the steward ; but his throat was con- 
stricted. No use! He could do nothing. 
The sweat, ice-cold now, trickled down 
his face and into his eyes, but he did not 
notice it. There was a voice screaming in 
his head, there was a thundering in his 
ears, and teeth flashed as a woman 
laughed. The snake would strike and then 
in a minute . . . two minutes, perhaps . . . 
he would die. The woman had been right. 
The snake had come 

He was still for the space of three long 



heartbeats and then a tremor ran through 
him. He coughed a few times and slumped 
gently forward, his eyes slowly glazing as 
he died. 

And just within the candlelight the 
native messboy, a cup of tea in his hand 
and his teeth flashing in an odd grimace, 
stood transfixed and gazed at the twitch- 
ing figure of the first officer with the 
pallor of death upon him. And then his 
eyes fell again upon the thing that lay 
in the shadows, coiled as it had fallen 
from the waist of O'Shane, glinting 
strangely in the flickering light, the 
knotted end propped upright against a 
stanchion. 

The boy had always been fascinated by 
that scarf. It resembled so much his devil- 
god. It was as beautiful as a cobra. 




"RILEY GRAMAiYS LAST ADVENTURE" 

This classic of funeral sermons — delivered in a burlesque theater in Rawhide, 
Nevada, by Herman W. Knickerbocker, the busted preacher-prospector, over the 
body of Riley Grannan, the dead-broke gambler — is one of the most popular features 
ever to appear in the pages of Adventure. It is now available in pamphlet form at 
ten cents a copy. 

Adventure, 

205 East 42nd Street, New York 17, N. Y. 

Please send me copies of "Riley Grannan's Last Adventure." I am 

enclosing cents. (10c in stamps or coin for each copy desired.) 

Name 

Street Address 

City "orTown ""state 



HOLY MOSES 
MURPHY 



ILLOSTBATBD BY JOSEPH A. FABKEK 



By 
JAMES C. LYNCH 



I WALK in the front door of the Moses 
Murphy Machine Shop and if I had 
been thirty years older I would have 
been talking to myself. I am scared to 
death. The one thing that scares me more 
than women or Mike Hannigan is hitting 
a new boss for a job. 

The office I walk into is tidy as a pin, 
like Mom keeps our place at home. There 
is a little man, somewhere between forty 
and eighty years old, sitting at a desk. 
He is very neat, with a stiff, starched col- 
lar and a thin black tie. He has a fringe 
of soft gray hair around his bald head 
and a sweet smile, the kind you see on 
Santa Claus. No doubt he is a broke-down 
machinist who Holy Moses Murphy has 
made a timekeeper. 

"Hello, son," he says. 

You know how it is with scared guys. 
You wisecrack and show off to cover up. 
"Hi, Pop," I say. "How are you? I'd like 
to talk to Mr. Murphy. Old Holy Moses 
Murphy, himself." 

"Go ahead, son," he says. "Talk." 

"Ohhhh !" I say. And I not only needed 
a job, but I wanted to work for Holy 
Moses Murphy more than anyone else in 
the world. I always heard he was a roaring 
lion, a regular hell-on-wheels guy and 
somehow I had the idea he was a big 
man, big as a house, like Mike Hannigan. 

Holy Moses Murphy is supposed to be 
tops in the business. I've talked to boys 
who had thirty years experience before 
they went to work for Holy Moses, and 
after a couple of years with him they 
were wiser and better men. And Holy 
Moses has been known to tell a man to 
pack his tools and get right over to this 





I catch Mike's clumsy 
right fist on my left arm 
— and then I nail him. 



ADVENTURE 



shop or that one, they had just asked him 
to recommend a good foreman or super- 
intendent, and good luck to you, mister. 

"I'm sorry," I say. "I thought — I didn't 
think—" 

"Lot of men don't think, son," lie says. 
"World's full of such. What was it you 
wanted to talk about ?" 

I lay a USES postal card on his desk. 
"I've been certified — they sent me — I'm 
looking for a job." 

He looks me over and says, "Unlock 
your box." 

I put my tool box on his desk and un- 
lock it. He throws the lid back and lets 
down the flap and pulls out the drawers. 
When he gets done looking I think he 
knows what color my other suit is. He 
knows what I've worked on and how long 
and what I'm best at. 

He says, "That's the tidiest tool box 
I've seen for a long time. You married?" 

"No, sir." 

"Why not?" 

"I don't know," I lie. I can't tell him 
I'm scared of women, that's why. 

"I don't either," he lies. I can tell he 
knows I'm scared of women. "A young 
fellow with your build and looks and the 
money you've been making. Foosh ! 
Where did you work before?" 

I tell him and he says, "Why did you 
leave those places?" 

"Well," I say. "Tri-State, they folded. 
They shut down." 

"I know that," he says. "But the other 
places are still going strong." 

I SWALLOW a couple of 
times and try, but you can't lie 
to Holy Moses Murphy. Not 
without him knowing it. "I 
quit because of Mike Hannigan," I tell 
him. "That guy seems to follow me 
around. Mike is a big Irish Mick who 
always picks on me. He is one of those 
kind of guys who will hand you a length 
of bar stock- — after he's heated your end 
with a torch. He will dip his hands in 
lard or oil and rub his hands in your hair 
or down the back of your clean shirt. He 
will nail your lunch pail to the floor so 
that when you grab it up, you pull the 
handle oft". He does all those things to 
me." 
"Well," says Moses Murphy. "Why 




don't you break his thick Irish neck?" 

"Me?" I say. 

"Listen, son," he says. "The difference 
between a man who can handle men and 
a man who can't handle men is the man 
who can handle men makes up his mind 
he can. The mind is a wonderful thing 
when it's used right. A man who makes 
up his mind can do anything." 

"Yes, sir," I say, and pick up my box 
and stand there waiting for him to say, 
"Sorry, son." 

But he says, "Can you hold a one-ten- 
thousandth constant tolerance on half 
inch chrome-oily, taking off a twenty- 
thousandth cut?" 

"No sir," I tell him. "I can't do that." 

"Good," he says. "I hired a man this 
morning who said he could. Let's go to 
work." 

He jumps up and opens a back door in 
the office and leads me down a hall and 
out another door into the shop. Man, 
what a place. It's air-conditioned and 
bright as daylight and the floor is so clean 
you could drop a cup cake on it and not 
be afraid to eat the last crumb. There is 
plenty of room around each machine and 
each machine is the best money can buy. 
I have never seen a shop like it and I 
have never seen a guy like Holy Moses 
Murphy. He reaches in his pocket and 
digs out a rubber ball and bounces it 
and catches it as we walk along. Just like 
a little kid. 

He stops by a big bench covered with 
shiny plates and magnifying lenses on 
standards and the best inspection equip- 
ment I have ever seen. And this bench is 
presided over by the most gorgeous girl I 
have even seen. She even has red hair, my 
favorite color. The color that scares me 
most. 

Holy Moses stands there and bounces 
his rubber ball and says, "Mary, I want 
you to meet Eddie Crosby. He's going to 
work for us. Eddie, this is Mary Mont- 
gomery." 

"Hello, Eddie," says Mary. 

"Hellllo," I stutter. "Hellllo, Mary." 

"Mary is our inspector," says Holy 
Moses. "She will look over everything you 
do. It had better be good." 

"I will do my best," I say, and I keep 
standing there, just looking at Mary 
smile. Gosh ! 



HOLY MOSES MURPHY 



87 



"Don't mind me," says Holy Moses. 
"I have lots of time." 

"Yes sir," I say, and Mary gives me a 
cute little wink and goes back to work. I 
turn around and manage to get my tool 
box stuck between my legs and stumble 
and sit down on the box and everybody 
laughs. The ends of my ears get red hot. 

When we finally get going again, Holy 
Moses says, "Don't get the idea you can 
get by with anything with that little girl. 
I've tried to catch her every way I know 
how, and I know a few hows. I've never 
been able to fool her. Anything you can 
do, she can do twice as good." 

"Yes sir," I say, still shaking, I don't 
know what there is about a redheaded 
woman that makes me feel so incom- 
petent. 

"Well, here we are," says Holy Moses. 
"You'll work on Number Five here, for 
the time being. There's your locker. The 
stock's in the rack alongside. Here's the 
print of the part. Make fifty of them." 

The guy at the lathe ahead turns 
around and I drop my tool box on my 
toe. 

"Mike Hannigan," I say. "I didn't 
know you worked here." 

"Hello, sweetheart," he says. "How's 
mama's little angel? Sure, I started here 
this morning. What are you doing here ? 
I thought this was a machine shop." 

Holy Moses clears his throat and Mike 
goes back to work. I get my apron on and 
my tools out and look at the drawing. It 
is not a hard piece, but the tolerances are 
right down to the last notch, even for the 
best engine lathe made. 

HOLY MOSES watches me 
get started, then walks away. 
He seems satisfied. When he 
is gone, Mike Hannigan turns 
around, puts a greasy hand in my face and 
gives me a playful shove. 

"How are you, Eddie?" he says. "How 
did you ever get in this dump?" 

"Cut it out, Mike," I tell him, wiping 
my face. "Why don't you grow up?" 

"Don't get tough with me, Bud," he 
says. "I'll punch you in the nose. Did you 
see that cute little number who is the 
inspector?" 

"Yes," I tell him. "She seems like a nice 
girl." 




"You lay off that redhead," he says. 
"Don't get any funny ideas, I saw her 
first." 

"Go ahead," I tell him. "It's all right 
by me." 

He lays his dirty hand on my shoulder, 
leaving a smudge on my shirt. "You're 
a yella bum, Eddie," he says. "She's all 
right, that redhead. She might inspect 
what I do around^here, but I'm taking 
her as she is. If there's anything out of 
tolerance in that chassis of hers, I'll let it 
ride. Easy-going Mike, that's me." He 
nags off a big bite of plug tobacco and 
goes back to work. 

At all the other shops we've worked at, 
Mike would spit on the floor, but he 
doesn't dare do that here. He waits until 
he gets a big mouthful of juice and walks 
to the scrap barrel. And each time he 
goes past, he shoves me around or some- 
thing. 

I want to paste him so bad I can cry. 
But I can't. It's always been that way. 
He's got the Indian sign on me, I guess. 
So I won't be here long. I can't work 
around Mike Hannigan. 

I sputter along until noon. Number 
Five is at an angle that I can watch Mary 
Montgomery, out of the corner of my eye. 
That is upsetting enough. Along with 
Mike, it is too much. 

A guy comes in with box lunches and 
I buy one, hoping Mike will go out to a 
restaurant. But he buys one, too. So does 
Mary. When the bell rings and we sit 
down to eat, Mike starts telling every- 
body about the tricks he's pulled on me. 
He gets a lot of laughs. He tells every- 
body, but he talks right at Mary. Mary 
listens to him, but she keeps looking at 
me. The way she looks does not make me 
feel good. 

Holy Moses comes into the shop a lot. 
He walks around, looking and bouncing 
his rubber ball. He doesn't say much to 
anyone, except Mary. He talks with her 
a lot. 

Each time he goes out, I make up my 
mind to quit the next time he comes in. 
I am doing lousy work so I might as well 
quit before I get fired. 

Mike keeps his jaws full of chewing 
tobacco and keeps making his, regular 
trips to the barrel. He's got a cheek full 
(Continued on page 126) 



SHARK 
BAIT 

By 

WILMON MENARD 



SOME sportsmen are contemptuous 
of shark hunting, but I find it par- 
ticularly exhilarating. The chief 
complaint fishermen have is that the 
shark gives up too easily. But not the 
tiger-sharks of the Dangerous Isles ! Yes, 
I never pass up an opportunity to kill a 
shark. I still remember my first shark 
kill, and I am sure it was the most 
exciting of all. It was off Barbados, in the 
West Indies. I was seventeen at the time. 
My harpoon was a crude affair, fashioned 
out of a shortened, old-fashioned French 
bayonet, near the point of which I had 
brazed stout barbs in each of the concavi- 
ties of its three-edged blade. I also at- 
tached an expanding iron-socket to the 
spear-head, for the reception of a de- 
tachable fifteen-foot mangrove pole. A 
really formidable shark-sticker ! 

I recall that it was a fine, balmy day, 
the sun overhead very hot, and the sea 
blue and sparkling. Standing forward 
on the harpooner's pulpit, rigged to the 
bowsprit of the schooner, I had a clean 
sweep of the sea far ahead. Then, sudden- 
ly, I saw a huge black fin cutting the 
shimmering surface, a hundred yards or 
so off the port bow. My heart leapt, and 
I trembled with excitement. The black 
boys dumped over some pig entrails and 
blood, and the killer, scenting the blood, 
turned sharply and cruised back, sliding 
up silently alongside and gobbling up the 
viscera. Then it circled away warily. For 
a moment, I was afraid it had left for 
good, but five minutes later it swam 
slowly below the bowsprit. 

"Now, take your time!" my father 
whispered tensely. "Hit hard behind the 
gills!" 




JLLDSTEATED BY 
V. E. PTLES 



I gripped my harpoon tightly, saw that 
the line was free, then, when the shark 
passed underneath again, I drew in my 
breath sharply and struck downward with 
all my strength. 

"Good boy !" my father shouted loudly. 

I felt the pole jerked out of my hand, 
and the line began whizzing out. With 
beginner's luck, I had sunk the harpoon 
deeply in a vital spot behind the gill clefts. 
The monster pulled out more than fifty 
yards of the stout line, then went to the 
bottom where it sulked. But with all of 
us straining on the line, we pulled it in 



The shark was goaded to wild fury now — he circled 
and charged Mop/, who nimbly somersaulted and came 
up under the brute for another hard knife-thrust. 



A FACT STORY 



90 



ADVENTURE 



under the counter, jerked its head out of 
the water, and with a .45 I sent five slugs 
into its savage brain before it ceased its 
wild thrashings. The brute measured more 
than ten feet. It was my first shark ! 

Yes, shark-hunting is dangerous and ex- 
hilarating. I've seen black boys of the 
West Indies tease sharks underwater, then 
expertly slit open their white gleaming 
bellies with long-bladed shark-knives. In 
Macassar in the Celebes, tourists are en- 
tertained by a small boy fighting a shark 
in a specially built pool for this commer- 
cial and sordid form of amusement. In the 
Solomon Islands I have seen stalwart na- 
tives battle with sharks over fishes trapped 
in fish-nets, or dynamited. The crafty 
sharks have learned to rush to a spot when 
they feel the concussion of dynamite, 
knowing there will be a feast on the 
stunned fishes. In Honolulu, I saw a 
shark's belly ripped open by its captors, 
and in its stomach was found the mangled 
arm of a soldier drowned off Waialua. 

X^g^s AFTER experimenting with 
K^^2j many types of shark harpoons, 
'- '- ~i"~ - I have found that simple 
"cSEf-sgi swivel-headed harpoons are 
the best. They are easy to handle and are 
quite cheap to make. In the deep water, 
I have used expensive quintuple-barbed 
harpoons, but when harpooning in a 
lagoon or bay with shelving coral or rocky 
ledges, it is rather foolhardy for a shark- 
hunter to risk losing its costly harpoon- 
head. A shark often goes for the bottom, 
and it can very easily foul the line around 
craggy projections of rock and coral and 
quickly sever it by its wild antics to free 
itself from the barbed harpoon. The con- 
stant jerking of the line across a sharp 
piece of rock or coral can rapidly cut it, 
and the shark is off with your harpoon 
still in its hide. The killer might perish 
out at sea, but this is hardly a consolation 
considering the costliness of a fine quin- 
tuple-barbed harpoon. 

The hardy natives of Nukurua, and also 
of other atolls of the Dangerous Islands, 
are born haters of sharks. In every family 
of pearl divers you will find a fatality by 
these marauders of the sea. Among the 
pearl diving atolls, during the diving sea- 
son, they are met single-handed by ex- 
perienced divers, who contemptuously 



tease them, and then dexterously slash off 
their flukes, horribly maiming them as a 
warning to other killers. The sharks, de- 
prived of their steering apparatus, dash 
headlong into sharp coral ledges and 
growths, killing themselves; or they are 
eaten by their cannibalistic brothers and 
sisters, who have been goaded to the kill 
by the scent of blood and the helplessness 
of their mutilated member. 

Sharks are cannibalistic by nature. 
When their food supply becomes scarce, 
they will slaughter each other. Their style 
of attack upon another is always the same. 
They will rush in swiftly and bury their 
teeth in a victim's stomach, for here a 
softer and firmer hold is assured. Also, 
sharks have found each other's entrails 
quite toothsome. I set out many lines in 
the lagoon of Nukurua, buoyed with 
empty oil drums, and when I would go 
out to inspect them, I'd find my shark 
had been torn to pieces by others. Every- 
thing from the pectoral fin backwards 
would be gone. When I hoisted my har- 
pooned sharks off the beach by their tails 
with the block-and-tackie I had lashed to 
the coconut trunks, their huge mouths 
would spew out livers, intestines and skin 
of sharks. The gullet of a shark is merely 
a large unobstructed tube to its capacious 
stomach, so when the shark is hoisted by 
its tail into the air, the gullet and stomach 
becomes everted, disgorging anything that 
has not been wholly digested. 

On one occasion, I had brought along 
some lengths of one-half inch iron from 
Tahiti, and, as there was a small crude 
forge owned by Higgin's Chinese assist- 
ant, Ah Cheung, I quickly made a number 
of harpoons. I tempered and sharpened 
them myself, and, if I do say so, they were 
much better than I could have purchased. 
Experiences in shark-harpooning had 
made me a reasonably adept fashioner of 
harpoons which really work. The iron 
shank of the harpoon expanded into 
a wedge-shaped socket for the reception of 
a pole, and a steel cable was attached to a 
ring on the harpoon head, to which 100 
yards of quarter-inch Norwegian hemp 
line was tied. 

During the night, Roo and I set out 
shark lines, with the hooks baited with 
five pounds of eel, and attached to air- 
plane-wire leaders, with 100-foot lengths 



SHARK BAIT 



91 



of quarter-inch hemp line tied to coco- 
palms on the beach. This distance from 
the coral strand, sharks seven and eight 
feet long foraged. Over the lines I hung 
two bottles, which, at the slightest jerk or 
tension, gave out musical tinkles. I would 
frequently be aroused five and six times 
during the night by the clinking bottles, 
and, rushing down with a lantern, we'd 
have a lively time pulling in the vicious 
brutes. But sharks couldn't be allowed to 
lie too long on the beach. They are, with- 
out exception, the worst stinkers of the 
sea. I would quickly strip off their hides 
and salt them down for shagreen, which 
made excellent book-binding material. 

I harpooned most of my sharks from 
the coral reefs or ledges. The water was 
deep below the ledges, and in the blue 
shadows large man-eaters basked or 
cruised. Every day, Roo and I scouted 
along the fringing ledges. The strong 
combers, crashing loudly over the coral 
barrier-reefs, were reduced to only a small 
wash of wavelets, barely more than two 
or three inches deep by the time it 
breached over the wide coral mole. The 
top of the barrier reefs were spongy with 
marine growths, and I experienced an un- 
canny sensation as I felt living things, 
crabs and mollusks, crawl suddenly in 
fright under my bare tread. I had to 
maintain strict vigilance that I didn't step 
on nohus, or viperous black sea-urchins. 
And, of course, I had to be careful not to 
walk on deceptive coral crusts, which 
would break and send me into deep water 
at the mercy of the sharks. 

Most times I had to locate my sharks 
through a glass-paned water-box. The 
open end of the box was large enough to 
insert my head, and, placing the glassed- 
end into the water, I could see fathoms 
below. In the sunlit depths fish of every 
imaginable shape and color swam : schools 
of butterfly fish, with long gossamer tails, 
flitting between coral fans; silvery mul- 
lets ; sea horses ; sea cucumbers ; rainbow 
fish, and red and blue parrot-fish ; group- 
ers and wrasse. There were fantastic min- 
iature trees and shrubs ; yellow and pink 
coral vines; seaweed, prolific as coral, of 
purple and mauve colors. On white sandy 
spaces I could see sea anemones, urchins, 
sponges, hermit crabs and turbos, all of 
such varied hues and shapes that they de- 



fied description. Often I would see the 
flat-boned, broad heads of giant conger- 
eels protruding from coral grottoes. 

But sharks were my pet hates, and I 
would soon be snapped out of my reverie 
by the sight of a long gray body cruising 
into the picture. Then I'd put my w r ater- 
box aside, and toss bloody fragments of 
eels and fishes into the lagoon. I wouldn't 
have to wait long. Sharks have the most 
sensitive snouts in the world. A fin would 
suddenly break the still surface of the 
lagoon. Slowly, craftily the monster would 
circle about, then, with a rush, would 
come at the floating fragments with which 
I had chummed it. Then I had to work 
fast. At a distance of twenty to thirty feet. 
I could chance launching a spear. Some- 
times I got the shark the first time, many 
times I missed, and on rare occasions the 
shark, casting all caution aside, would 
come back again, even after being 
wounded, and would generously give me 
another try. A blood-crazed shark will do 
strange things. Once I saw sharks, mad- 
dened by blood, go berserk. I had dumped 
some pig's entrails and blood into the sea, 
and within five minutes, the water bris- 
tled with fins. I wounded one with a har- 
poon thrust, and the other killers imme- 
diately tore the crippled shark to ribbons. 
Then, with nothing else to eat, they turned 
on each other. It was a wild and terrible 
scene of cannibalism. Again, I smeared 
some blood on the snout of a "dead" 
shark we had pulled up on the coral 
strand, and its mouth opened and closed 
spasmodically, and its whole body trem- 
bled. The smell of blood had brought it 
back momentarily from the grave! 

THE job of landing a shark 
is not an easy one. Although 
these gangsters of the deep 
will not do a Highland-fling, 
or the rumba on the surface, they can be 
obstinate as mules. They will pull and 
charge like enraged bulls. Believe me. it's 
back-breaking labor pulling one in. Then, 
once you've beached it, you can exhaust 
yourself trying to make it let go its stub- 
born hold on life. The natives usually 
beat out their brains with clubs and spears, 
but I soon found an easier way to finish 
mine off. I inserted a sharp knife, at- 
tached to a stout shaft, into one of the gill 



92 



ADVENTURE 



clefts back of the pectoral fin, and, giving 
it a hard turn, would neatly sever the 
main artery in the neck. 

There was, of course, a limit to the size 
of sharks I could harpoon in the lagoons 
of Nukurua. Sharks over ten feet long 
would not enter the lagoon. Although the 
reef-passage was quite wide, there were 
some shoal heads here, and a wily man- 
eater will not enter a lagoon from which 
it cannot make a quick egress. A shark is 
a dastard at heart, and, when the odds be- 
come too great for it in conflict, it will 
turn and run. 

One morning, Roo and I, aided by 
four Nukuruans, went shark-hunting in 
the outer sea in a small cutter that had 
called at the atoll. I did not have to wait 
long for a target for my quintuple-barbed 
harpoon. The shark fought us stubbornly 
for more than an hour, but it was worth 
the tussle. After much heaving we got its 
head out of the water, amidships. We dan- 
gled a large shark-hook, baited with fish, 
over the side and, although wounded, it 
bit at it, and the hook sank deeply into the 
jaw cartilage. In its mad thrashings it got 
the bronze leader between its teeth and 
had almost bitten the links through. I ran 
a bo'line-and-bit down the leader and got 
it back of the monster's gills. One of the 
Nukuruans had lashed a block to the rig- 
ging and I threw the bit through the open- 
slot and we heaved strongly. When the 
shark had been hoisted high enough, I cut 
the main artery in its neck. 

I was really proud of this brute. It was 
the largest I had harpooned in the Dan- 
gerous Isles. It measured more than thir- 
teen feet. The shark's jaws were more 
than three feet in circumference, fully 
opened, an opening large enough for a 
boy's shoulders and hips to pass through 
comfortably. Indeed, the natives of the 
Dangerous Isles know full well that it 
was a mako (shark) that swallowed Jona 
(Jonah), and not a tohora (whale). 

A shark's teeth are really most terrify- 
ing. No marine monster, save possibly the 
giant barracuda, has such an infernal and 
wicked system of teeth. They are large, 
sickle-shaped and are of indestructible 
pure enamel. The glass-like enamel on the 
edges of each finely serrate denticle will 
cut a hair as cleanly as a razor. 

Late that afternoon, Roo and I began 



cutting away the jaws of the shark, which 
I intended keeping for a souvenir. Strip- 
ping the skin away from the lower jaw 
and throat, I found that this region was 
impregnated with the stings of rays, or 
sea-bats. I even found them between the 
rows of teeth, deeply embedded in the 
gums and cartilage, and in the muscle 
masses adherent to the jaws I found 
thirty-three stings. These dagger spines 
of the rays, double-edged and saw-toothed, 
were driven four and five inches into the 
cartilage and membranes, some buried in 
cysts, attesting to long wounds, while oth- 
ers were surrounded by congested blood, 
tell-tale signs of recent conflicts. In the 
stomach of the shark were fragments of 
leopard rays (aetobatus narinari) and car- 
tilaginous fragments of their skeletons. 

Incidentally, a shark will go far out oE 
its way to take a bite out of a ray. This 
is not to be wondered at when you stop 
to consider that sharks and rays are the 
oldest form of marine life, and probably 
the stock from which all other fishes 
evolved, so any antipathy toward one an- 
other must be instinctive. Although they 
differ somewhat in external aspect and 
their means of attack and defense, they 
are related in structure. In sharks and 
rays the skeleton remains cartilaginous, 
instead of hardening into bone. Each, like- 
wise, has a three-valved heart, a spiral 
valve in the intestines, but no air-blad- 
der. When you slice off the "wings" 
of a ray, you have a small, though per- 
fectly formed shark, with the same under- 
slung mouth. I think they are closely re- 
lated, and if so, it is only one more point 
in proof of a shark's cannibalistic traits. 
It revels in slaughtering its own kind. 

I always used leopard rays for shark 
bait whenever I could catch them. The 
large rays normally lived close to the 
lagoon floor, where they fed on mollusks 
and marine animals on the bottom. But 
they often came to the surface to bask, and 
that is when I had an opportunity to har- 
poon them. Once, I carelessly permitted 
my legs to come too close to the deadly 
spine of a ray and I received a grazing 
stab. It was a superficial wound, but the 
slime on the sting set up a chemical poi- 
son, together with the poison it ejected 
from the small poison-gland at the base of 
the spine, that flowed down the grooved 



SHARK BAIT 




sting into the flesh and blood. The swell- 
ing was rapid and the pain excruciating. 
It laid me up for six days. 

The natives of Nukurua asked me, as a 
special favor, not to hunt the great blue 
shark. This species, they firmly believed, 
were not of a rapacious nature, and were 
supposed to be protected by Tane, a pow- 
erful god of the sea, who would severely 
punish anyone molesting them. I had no 
quarrel with blue sharks. Tiger-sharks 
(Galcocerdo tigrinus) were my victims, 
those gray, vicious bullies of the sea, run- 
ning in numbers, launching sudden and 
cowardly attacks upon weaker prey, but 
always turning tail and streaking off when 
the odds became too great for them. 
Treacherous, cowards, at heart, and with 
souls of scavengers, these gangsters of the 
deep are the most despicable of all the 
lamnidae family of sharks. 



I HAVE had, of course, many 
harrowing experiences shark- 
hunting. You can't fool around 
13 them long without running 
risks of having a leg or an arm chewed off. 
Once, while swimming in the lagoon of 
Nukurua toward the beach, with a string 
of fishes which I had just speared tied to 
my waist, a small baby shark slid up 
stealthily and tore the fishes away, miss- 
ing my stomach by only a few inches ! Al- 
though not endowed with sharp eyesight, 
its sense of smell has been highly devel- 
oped, as I have stated. Animal or human 
blood, spilled into the water, will bring 
this killer from a great distance. It wor- 
ries its victim like a wolf, circling about 
it in constantly diminishing circles. Then 
a sudden rush and savage attack. When 
surprised or cornered, it bites first and 
then flees, if the odds are too great. It will 
run away from a formidably large barra- 
cuda, and most times from a man swim- 
ming. Most casualties concerning sharks 
and swimmers can be attributed to the 
shark biting out of curiosity, or colliding 
accidentally with another strange object. 
Because of their poor eyesight, sharks 
have learned from experience to use their 
teeth first when striking another mobile 
object underwater. 

A few months previous to my coming to 
Nukurua, I had witnessed a sight at the 
Island of Rapa, to the south of Tahiti, 



which has made me a shark's enemy for 
life. Frequently, in the afternoon, off the 
headlands of the Bay of Ahurei, I would 
see schools of young whales, guarded by 
huge bulls, on their frolicsome way south 
to polar waters. On this occasion, I sud- 
denly saw two small whales, no doubt 
stragglers from the main school, blithely- 
tarrying and sporting on the sunlit surface 
of the ocean. A native suddenly gripped 
my arm and pointed toward them, crying 
hoarsely, "Makos! Sharks!" Rushing out 
through the headlands of the bay were 
countless sharks, who had long awaited 
such a chance to ambush whales, singly or 
in pairs. In a minute or so, the water 
bristled with the black fins of the killers, 
as they closed in on the now startled 
young whales. Before the whales could 
sound, their flukes were ripped to pieces 
and their great bulks torn to shreds by 
the hungry, bloodthirsty pack. From that 
moment on I declared unceasing war on 
tiger-sharks. 

Native divers, working pearl-shell beds 
underwater, have frequently collided with 
sharks and have had their arms or legs 
seized and, with a mad wrench, the mon- 
sters have stripped off the skin and flesh, 
leaving lengths of white bone protruding. 
Several divers in the Dangerous Isles, 
with whom I have talked, have crashed 
headlong into sharks, while descending, 
and the brutes have sheered off parts of 
their jaws and cheek, leaving their teeth 
gleaming wolfishly in their ravaged faces 
forever after. 

But the most wonderful story in the 
Dangerous Islands is the tale of how a 
giant Tuamotuan, Mopi by name, rode on 
the back of a huge tiger-shark. French 
traders, schooner captains and colonial of- 
ficials verify the account, so I accept it as 
the gospel truth. While gathering pearl- 
shell underwater at the pearl-diving atoll 
of Hikueru, Mopi bumped heads with a 
shark. The monstrous creature, fully 
twelve feet long, circled swiftly and at- 
tacked him. Mopi, caught off-guard, was 
forced to seek refuge in a coral cavern. 
But the shark lunged in after him and 
Mopi, seeing no escape, leapt desperately 
upon its back, burying his strong fingers 
in the wide, deep gills. The shark, en- 
raged and startled, headed with express- 
train speed for the surface. There the 



94 



ADVENTURE. 



brute barrel-rolled and leapt clear out of 
the water with terrifying impact, trying 
to free itself of its rider. It suddenly shot 
to the bottom again, crashing wildly 
through brittle coral trees and growths, 
slashing Mopi cruelly. Again it zoomed 
to the surface, blood gushing from its torn 
gills. This time it headed toward the sub- 
merged reef near the native village, where 
it accidentally beached itself. There the 
villagers, who had lined the coral strand, 
watching with horrified eyes Mopi's amaz- 
ing ride, attacked the shark with spears 
and clubs. Mopi walked unaided to the 
beach, his entire body bleeding and torn 
by the shark's rough skin and collisions 
with coral. Then, seized with blind rage, 
he whirled around suddenly, ran back to 
the dying shark and gave it a smashing 
blow in the snout with his fist. But, at 
that instant, the shark's jaws flashed wide 
— and Mopi's hand was gone ! 

I had always hoped to meet this ex- 
traordinary Tuamotuan, and one morning 
this wish was fulfilled. A loud, yodeling 
call aroused me just after dawn one day, 
and when I protruded my head from my 
palm-leaf hut, I saw a Polynesian giant 
standing beside a beached sailing-canoe. 
He had only a blue and white pareu tied 
around his loins, and his muscular body 
was scarred by long serrated, livid scars, 
the tell-tale decorations of a veteran shark- 
killer. His head was massive, with tight, 
crisps ringlets of gray hair massed low up- 
on his wide forehead. His eyes were large 
and liquid, tender, though giving the im- 
pression of absolute fearlessness. 

When he saw me, he grinned and waved 
gaily. His right hand was severed at the 
wrist. 

" 'Ullo, big boy!" he cried in a deep, 
booming voice. " My name Mopi ! I been 
Frisco ! I walk down Market Street ! By 
cripes, yah! Vera ka hau! Hot stuff!" 

(Mopi had once voyaged to San Fran- 
cisco on a copra schooner, where he had 
picked up an amazing vocabulary of Eng- 
lish words.) 

He rushed up to me and threw the 
scarred stump of his arm around my 
shoulders in a rough hug. It was an eerie 
embrace. 

"I come Nukurua. I hear you no like 
makos!" he shouted, blowing the fumes of 
coconut toddy in my face. "I say, damn 




with him. 



hell to sharks ! I think we give 'em blen- 
tay hell. By cripes, yah!" 

MOPI shared my simple 
breakfast with me, washing it 
down with a mighty draught 
of palm toddy he had brought 
He wanted to show me some 
tricks with sharks underwater, so we hur- 
riedly launched the canoe across the la- 
goon to the foraging ground of the sea- 
gangsters. The surface of the lagoon was 
unruffled, and the marine garden which 
spread out below us could be seen as 
clearly as if viewed under an immense 
magnifying-glass, making shapes and sizes 
of marine life and plants appear gigantic 
and grotesque. No soil or mud fouled the 
crystal-clear depth, nor was there any 
debris floating in it, as the coral was hard 
and brittle and shed no particles to cloud 
the pellucidity of the water. The shifting 
sunlight wavered in wide ribbons of light 
through the water and was reflected from 
the coarse, sandy bottom and stark-white 
coral ledges, shooting through the green 
translucence again and again in diffused 
rays, creating halations around coral grot- 
toes and spires, and casting deep shadows 
in coraL caverns where lagoon monsters 
were possibly hidden. The sun's rays 
shifted and filtered through the rough, un- 
even windows of ancient battlemented 
coral castles and poured in subdued pat- 
terns through interminable forests of coral 
trees in which blue butterfly fish flitted. 
Now, a shaft of light would transfix the 
sliding body of a barracuda or a small 
lagoon shark, or the green, slimy sheen of 
a twisting, convulsing conger-eel. It was 
like an amazing kaleidoscope. 

When I turned around to speak with 
Mopi, who was in the stern paddling, I 
saw that he was affixing a leather stirrup 
terminating in a brass-cap on his wrist- 
stump. In the center of the brass end was 
a threaded hole. He reached down, grin- 
ning, and lifted up an object wrapped in 
an oily cloth. When he unrolled it, I saw 
it was a long triple-edged knife. This he 
screwed securely into the threaded hole 
of the brass-guard. 

"I give sharks blentay hell!" he yelled, 
waving it truculently in the air. 

I indicated the deep water near the pass, 
where the sharks came to forage, and. 



SHARK BAIT 



95 



after inspecting the depth through a water- 
box, he nodded his head in agreement. In 
the blue murk, shadowed by the over- 
hanging coral ledges, he had seen the long 
gray shapes of large sharks. He pointed 
out a huge brute to me that was cruising 
slowly among the smaller sharks. 

"He feel my knife first!" 

The canoe rocked suddenly, and Mopi 
was over the side, with hardly a ripple to 
mark his descent. Through the water-box, 
I watched him descend feet-first, the knife 
flashing brightly in the clear water. Then, 
at a depth of about ten feet, he turned 
and shot like a torpedo, head first, for the 
bottom. The smaller sharks took instant 
flight at his intrusion, but the large mon- 
ster he had singled out circled him warily 
at a distance. Mopi swam toward the 
shark boldly, the knife-arm extended. The 
killer swam deeper and Mopi followed 
him, until I could see only a shadowy 
outline of shark and man. A few seconds 
later, they rose higher, and I suddenly 
saw Mopi make a quick lunge at the 
shark. Mopi's face was upturned now, 
and I could see that he was "making 
faces" at the puzzled shark. I wondered 
if the palm liquor had not made Mopi too 
reckless. 

Then Mopi's fixed sword flashed out 
and a small jet of gray smoke was ejected 
from the belly of the monster (Blood in 
seawater at this distance becomes gray in 
color.) The shark was goaded to wild 
fury now, and circled quickly and charged 
Mopi, who nimbly somersaulted, swim- 
ming deeper, and then came up under the 
brute for another hard knife-thrust. Mopi 
was tormenting the shark now in the man- 
ner a picador does a bull. The shark was 
now leaking puffs of gray smoke in two 
places. Again the native swam nimbly 
around a coral fan, and pricked the thrash- 
ing, enraged shark. Then — danger! A 
small though dangerous-sized shark came 
into the scene, attracted by the blood of 
the punctured monster. It saw Mopi first 
and headed toward him ; but the Tuamo- 



tuan was not to be caught napping, and 
when the small shark swam past, flashing 
its jaws for a bite, he sank the knife deep- 
ly into its neck just back of the gills. The 
shark was moving away from him at the 
time, and, by its own momentum, drew 
the knife out clean, without jerking Mopi 
around. The shark floundered weakly off, 
vomiting blood from its gulping mouth. 

But the large shark was still to be reck- 
oned with. It rushed in for a swift attack 
upon Mopi, and the native jerked his body 
aside, just in time to save his limbs from 
a cruel bite. Mopi realized that he was 
exposing himself needlessly to danger with 
so much blood in the water, so he quickly 
reached out and grabbed a fluke of the 
brute, twisting his body under its stom- 
ach, and, at the same time, sinking his 
knife deeply into its belly. Then he re- 
leased his hold on its fluke, allowing the 
force of the shark's motion through the 
water to rip open its own stomach. Blood 
and entrails poured out of the shark's 
sliced belly. The shark swam iri a wobbly 
fashion, finally giving a convulsive trem- 
ble and sinking slowly toward the bottom 
of the lagoon. 

Mopi came to the surface, blowing his 
nose lustily, and began to blow whistling 
gasps through his clenched teeth with that 
peculiar fashion divers in the Tuamotus 
have, to relieve their strained lungs and 
to accustom their lung muscles to normal 
action. 

Then he climbed unaided into the canoe, 
unscrewed his bayonet and wrapped it in 
the fish-oil saturated rag. 

He gestured down into the lagoon's 
depth. "Now you go down and give 
makos hell." 

I gave Mopi a long, speculative stare. 
"My good friend," I finally announced, 
grinning, "when I want to cut short my 
life I'll try to find a pleasanter way of 
doing it than rubbing noses underwater 
with sharks." 

Mopi gave me a broad, understanding 
smile. "Maybe you right." 




HUNTING PARTY 



By T. C. McCLARY 



XLLUSTEATED ET 
NICE EOGENHOFEB 



««««'« 



/ 




CAPTAIN ZACHARIAH MAX- 
WELL, retired and now en route 
to find gold at Bozeman, rode out 
of the brash white glare into Fort Phil 
Kearney and found his old classmate, 
Captain Graham, out on duty. His first 
concern was to scrub down and shave. 
After this, he soaked in the heat and dust 
and rawness of the small post and was 
badly impressed by almost everything he 
saw. 



96 



Keyed truculence hung like a smell 
about the men ; there was laxity wherever 
he looked. He saw men sleeping and 
gaming who could have been policing and 
dressing up the post if nothing better. 
There was an arrogant sloppiness that 
needed discipline. 

He was a man who had served with 
considerable dash at crack parade posts 
along the Potomac, and he had been a 
staff officer with gallantry and courage 




W *>,"•* 



during the war. Now what he saw brought 
mixed disapproval and concern, 

At four o'clock, lie watched Graham 
form out of the swirls of lifting yellow 
heat beyond the gate ; by four-thirty, they 
had cracked the ice of time and distance 
and fallen into friendly heckling. The 
condition of the post was a reflection of 
its commander. Not wishing to say this 
outright, yet wishing to make Graham re- 
member better times, Maxwell said, "But 
damn it, George, there's not a shred of 
regulations and deportment here, and 
where you've got no discipline, you've got 
no esprit de corps! No wonder the red- 
skins aren't impressed into respect . . . 



Ambrose ripped out a savage yell and cried, 
"Charge!" Sabers gleamed and they struck 
the undecided Indians with cold steel. 



you've got a bunch of thugs, not soldiers !" 
Graham's thought went back to the 
charming dashing lift of the eastern posts, 
the background from which this opinion 
came. There had been discipline at those 
neat green and white trimmed posts. 
There had been military ethics in fight- 
ing, and even at Shiloh, they had found 
time and the desire to strike heroic martial 
poses. Looking back at it, it seemed like 
magnificent but damned fool child's play. 
"Maybe you're right, Max," he con- 
ceded amiably. "It is about what the in- 
specting officers from Washington think. 
The last time I requisitioned new car- 
bines, they said our guns were in good 



87 



ADVENTURE 



enough order, but they sent out six bath- 
tubs!" 

"There is no seriousness in you ! " Max- 
well accused. "And sooner or later it 
will show up in your troopers!" 

Sergeant Ambrose rolled toward them 
from barracks along the echoing board- 
walk. He saluted with the inevitable ex- 
plosion of dust, and thereafter dropped 
formality with a good spit. He w 7 as a man 
built of solid iron and rock, black of hair 
and smoldering of eye, and with a black- 
burned, high-boned face holding hues of 
dark brick red. His collar was open, his 
tunic unbuttoned nearly to his waist. His 
knuckles were raw against his sunburned 
flesh, and there was a suspiciously recent 
gash above one eye. 

He said, "I was delayed in the line of 
duty, Captain." 

Graham regarded him with a twinkle. 
"The duty would not have left you too 
sore for a little ride, Sergeant?" 

"Not me!" Ambrose grinned. "But I 
am afraid I will be short a man." 

"A squad will be sufficient," Graham 
said. "1 want you to circle up through 
the Big Horns from Clear Creek and find 
out why Red Cloud's braves have sud- 
denly found that country such good 
hunting." 

"Ah!" Ambrose breathed, with kin- 
dling lights in his gaze. "Maybe we will 
bag an antelope or two to break the 
monotony of issue diet!" He cocked an 
eye speculatively at the sun dropping out 
of the molten cauldron of the sky. "I'd 
say nine o'clock would be a good time for 
departure, sir." 

Graham nodded and casually returned 
the casual salute. Maxwell said with per- 
plexity, "George, you have staled! That 
man sounded more as if this might be a 
good hunting party than duty ! " 

"Maybe it will be," Graham grinned 
without disturbance. 

"They will go out there and spend their 
time fishing," Maxwell said with convic- 
tion. "I would like to see the report!" 
He looked at Graham with sudden sharp- 
ness, almost with accusation. "You gave 
him no general orders!" 

Graham looked tolerantly amused, but 
through it his eyes held a grim, hard 
light. "Max," he said, "there is only one 
general order out here . . . Don't get 
killed if you can help it!" 




SERGEANT AMBROSE in- 
spected his men, saw to the 
muffling of bridle chains and 

_^J1J accouterments with rags, and 
for a short space, debated with him- 
self the taking of extra blankets. He 
met their eyes in the shadowed yellow lan- 
tern light and said, "No, the extra weight 
is liable to become heavy before we're 
back." 

"It is liable to get damned cold in those 
hills!" Corporal Lacey grunted. 

"Cold or stiff, which will ye be?" Am- 
brose growled, and promptly answered his 
own question. "Cold. Saddles, and keep 
yer big mouth shut." 

The log gates of the fort swung back. 
They moved out in a column of twos, 
sinking into the fluid, star-washed 
shadows of the plains. They rode silently 
until after midnight, holding to the 
troughs and valleys. There was no breeze 
and the heat of day held, and a great dust 
cloud from a buff herd hung clear to the 
horizon. 

He pulled them up in a stand of thick 
brush. He sat for a space with eyes nar- 
rowed upon the silhouette of the horizon, 
nose lifted and ears strained, and a hand 
upon his horse's neck for any telltale 
tightening of muscles he might feel. He 
let his senses reach out and bring back re- 
actions, too fine for the brain to define 
or grasp. 

Lacey said, "There are some rocks 
where we can build a fire." 

"It will be cold camp," Ambrose grunt- 
ed. "What do you want, to wake up 
without yer head?" 

Lacey growled, "You couldn't see it 
from atop that rise!" 

"But a Sioux could see the glow on the 
dust cloud three miles away!" Ambrose 
snapped. "Unsaddle and picket to yer own 
heads and get what sleep you can." 

He stood on the ground until the 
grumbling men had pulled their saddle 
blankets over them and their breathing 
was regular and heavy. He moved out to 
a distance and sat down, listening to the 
infinitesimal small noises of the night 
form a mood of silence that held the 
prairie. Vaguely, he sensed the move- 
ment of the horses, and the breathing of 
the men, and beyond the rise an owl 
hooted. His attention sharpened and he 



HUNTING PARTY 



leaned, putting his ear flat against the 
ground. If there were Sioux lying near, 
they would be telegraphing through the 
ground. The owl hooted once again, and 
then there was silence, and after an hour, 
he joined the circle of his men. 

Fifteen minutes before gray smudged 
the paling east he had his men awake and 
in the saddle and moved down through a 
trough between the hills. At dawn, they 
reined up beneath a rim and looked back. 
Nothing stirred around their campsite or 
on their trail. 

He grinned and felt a man's gratifica- 
tion at something well done. The Sioux 
lay thick as flies in the hills around a 
fort. "Well, we have given them the 
slip!" he said. He led off in a brisk can- 
ter to warm off their chill. At the mouth 
of Long Chimney he said, "All right, 
buckos. Make a fire and eat hearty. The 
smoke will come out six miles away." 

"You bet, eat hearty!" Lacey grum- 
bled. "It may be the last fire he gives us 
for a week. Compared to these hanting 
red-skinned ghosts, the rebels were just 
giving us a party!" 

In mid-afternoon they hit the Clear- 
water. Watering up, they moved over be- 
hind a parallel line of low chopped hills 
and began to climb the uptilt of the plains 
to where they broke against the wild and 
torn shoulders of the Big Horns. Here 
and there they cut Sioux sign, but noth- 
ing of any account, and nothing recent. 
They broke from timber into the high 
grasses of the upslanting shelf, and the 
vast lonely solitude of the Big Horns blew 
its breath upon them. It showed instantly 
in the changing humor of the men. Their 
easily aroused temper and laughter sank 
alike behind expectant and tight and 
watchful care. 

THREE days out from Fort 
Phil Kearney, Ambrose looked 
out from noon camp and 
thought he saw a jackrabbit 
pop over the hazy brow of a hill. He 
finished his meal and wiped his kit clean 
with grass, and coming erect, stretched 
his big, rawboned body. 

His mind was still on the rabbit, al- 
though there were no rabbits out in this 
high heat and there had not been any 
antelope in the bowl. His eyes took on a 




dry and hard expression. He said, "Keep 
a sharp eye, boys. I think I smell Sioux." 

"You think," Lacey corrected informa- 
tively for the group, "you saw a jack- 
rabbit pop along the brow of that hill. 
But being a Pennsylvania Dutchman, you 
will have us believing it was something 
whispered you by a hex at the stroke of 
midnight in the dark of the moon." 

"One of these fine days," Ambrose 
growled, "I am going to be sending that 
big mouth of yours to Red Cloud to wear 
around his stomach ! I do not like the 
way we're picking up no sign." 

He barked a gruff command and they 
pulled in their horses from picket. Short- 
ly, they rode in column across the bowl 
and up across the sheer face of a chalk 
blue bluff onto a brim. Half a continent 
opened eastward to their view. From here 
on they were in a world of wind and space 
and sky. The valleys grew narrower and 
the walls slit with dark, dank gorges. They 
skirted precipices that reared and leaned 
over their heads. 

"It is eerie country," Ambrose said. 
"Lacey, what sign have ye cut since 
noon ?" 

"None," Lacey told him. "Not even a 
bend of last year's grass." 

"Then they are around us thick as 
snakes or they have moved up into Medi- 
cine Wheel for hunting. Keep a sharp 
eye." 

The light softened into evening tints 
and the haze drifted slowly clear. At sun- 
down they cut sign, smoke signals rising 
sheer as mist against a dark red butte. 
They stopped and watched with grim 
fatalism, trying, from the angle, to make 
out where the signals were meant for. 
Every one of them had been through at 
least part of the Rebellion, and they were 
long since past heroics. A man fought, 
and won if possible, when the time came, 
but he tried to sneak an edge on trouble. 
In the war, it had been a matter of guts 
and stubbornness and daring. Fighting 
Indians was a question of surprise and 
craft. 

Ambrose said, "It is my guess we have 
walked into the middle of them and they 
have us cornered like ferrets on a rat." 

"Always a happy thought from our 
sergeant," Lacey grunted. "This is Yel- 
low Fang's country, Ambrose, and he ain't 



100 



ADVENTURE 



Red Cloud's nephew for nothing. When 
he closes, he will have called in ten times 
our number." 

"Maybe he won't close," Ambrose 
speculated. "It is hard country for a war 
party to make a quick gather." 

He turned his horse down through a 
wash into a valley filling with the tide 
of deep blue shadow. Watering their 
horses, they watched the crimson-jonquil 
splash of sundown in the creek. Ambrose 
ordered forage and camp and a screened 
fire. As dark dropped like a net cast from 
the bright peaks, the men made bivouac 
and ate. 

"Well, we've found what we wanted," 
Lacey allowed. "They are up in here 
thick." 

"Don't get homesick," Ambrose 
warned. "We're not going back until 
we've circled Cloud Peak." 

"We're martyrs to his damned Dutch 
vanity!" Lacey growled. "He wants a 
furlough and to get it he will have us 
massacred in glory!" 

The men grinned. The long shadows 
reached out from the mountains, thicken- 
ing over them wave upon wave. It grew 
pitch-dark down there while day still 
lingered in the sky. 

Ambrose stretched back against his 
saddle, watching the green-and red-licked 
shadows of the men against the fire. 
The smells of wood and bacon and coffee 
were on the air, mixing with those cavalry 
smells of oiled steel and well-soaped 
leather and horse-sweat and dust. There 
was an arrogance in the occasional glint 
of a brass buckle, and there was hard, 
combative pride in all of them, and there 
was trust and comradeship in the troop- 
ers' low talk. It formed a close intimacy 
of fighting men such as civilians never 
know. 

The courage and loyalty and friendship 
of the cavalry were all here in this small 
scene. It was something that lifted a 
man's feelings with its bigness and yet 
let him feel big and individual within it. 
It was a thing they cursed and grumbled 
about and said they hated ; but every one 
of them signed up again when the time 
came. 

He flexed broad shoulders against the 
ache of muscles and sat forward a moment 
enjoying the spread of dampness that 




drifted out along the creek. He watched 
Lacey knock out his stinking pipe and 
bank the fire, and then he came erect. 

"All right," he said. "No noise, no talk 
and no spitting from you filthy chewers I 
We are going to saddle up and move 
downstream." 

"Down?" Lacey queried. Most usual- 
ly, you rode against the current, finding 
surer footing, more control. 

"Down, are ye deaf?" Ambrose 
growled. "And hold yer horses up." He 
saddled, and scattered a little dirt upon 
the fire so that it gave the merest glow. 
Mounting, he led out into the stream, and 
looking back, saw even the nearest man 
blanketed by the deep shadows of the cot- 
tonwoods along the banks. 

TWO miles down, moon- 
light began to spread across 
the peaks. With its com- 
ing, they would be picked 
out clear against the water as in a lighted 
mirror. He pushed his horse a little faster, 
head swinging like a bird-dog's from bank 
to bank. A mile further, he found a wash 
of shale and rock, and put his horse up 
the bank. 

Circling back, he stopped below the 
crest of a ridge that gave down on the 
camp they'd left. 

They heard sharp coyote calls ripping 
off from there and answered through the 
hills. He grinned, feeling a warm satis- 
faction at a successful trick. "They came 
in for the feast and couldn't find the car- 
cass!" he chuckled. "They will freeze half 
into a fever tonight looking for us up- 
creek." 

"While we," Lacey grunted, "will be 
toast-warm in a cabin!" 

"For certain," Ambrose answered 
mockingly, and led the way into a brush- 
darkened ravine. "Cold camp," he or- 
dered. 

At dawn they moved back upstream. 
They found moccasin prints beside their 
first evening camp and ate breakfast over 
the poked up coals. 

It was several hours before the sun 
reached them to warm off their chill. The 
valleys became narrower and their walls 
sheer. The trees shortened and grew 
gnarled, and the peaks turned jagged and 
enormous, rearing straight overhead. They 



HUNTING PAHTY 



101 



moved steadily upgrade. Altitude began 
to show in their harder breathing. 

By noon they were cutting sign on Yel- 
low Fang's warriors, travelling Sioux 
fashion, in groups of twos and threes, but 
always travelling so that a war party could 
be called together by a signal. Lacey said, 
"They are not just hunting. They are 
headed somewhere." 

"There is a big wagon train heading 
up from Laramie for Bozeman," Ambrose 
said. "These damned Sioux have a tele- 
graph better than our wired one I" 

They had eluded trailing for the mo- 
ment, Yellow Fang's braves having turned 
downstream in hot pursuit after finding 
no trace of them above. The sergeant 
led them at a rapid pace. In mid-after- 
noon, they came into a stand of gum pine, 
and with feelings akin to heresy, he had 
them coat their metal and smear on char- 
coal to dull the shine. 

Sunset caught them on a high plateau 
between the mountain ridges, and there 
was not a man but did not curse him for 
the blankets he had not let them pack. 
Lacey growled belligerently, "We'll be 
stiff as boards if we should get a dawn 
attack!" 

"Pile up some dirt here," Ambrose 
said, and picking a ditch, piled in brush 
and wood. He had it covered with dirt 
leaving an opening at each end, and just 
at sundown, put a fire into the long shal- 
low trough. They cooked and stoked the 
fire again, covering it with another layer 
of dirt, and slept with their bellies across 
this heated strip. Their middles roasted 
while their two ends froze. Within two 
hours of sunset it was bitter chill, and late 
in the night they were drenched by icy 
rain. 

They dug their trench open at dawn and 
made breakfast upon the coals. They 
moved down through a damp gorge all 
morning shivering, then sweated furious- 
ly while they climbed a sun-blistered 
shoulder to a shelf. They felt the sun's 
rays lift bubbles in the flesh around their 
necks. Their dappled horses were solid 
black with sweat. 

From the shelf, they looked down and 
saw puffs and plumes of dust moving 
northward and converging upon the val- 
ley that twisted out through the moun- 
tains below Fort C. F. Smith. Ambrose 



said, "How many scattered parties do 
you make out, Lacey?" 

"Five," Lacey grunted. "That is quite 
a party." 

"I make out six," Ambrose said. 

"You would!" the corporal growled. 
He scowled at the sergeant, then swung 
his head with consideration toward the 
plumed head of Cloud Peak. "That closes 
the circle trail. How the hell we going to 
get out of here ?" 

"Right where you're looking," Am- 
brose allowed and tore a fresh chew from 
a black plug. "We will use High Pass." 

"The horses will never stand the pull !" 

"Then we'll carry 'em," Ambrose an- 
swered unruffled, and gave a copious spit. 

They dropped over the rim of the shelf 
and down onto the gouged and canyoned 
uptilt of Devil's Table. A tangle of fresh 
trails made a crazy pattern across the 
floor, rambling, according to the ease of 
travel, but all converging toward the val- 
ley. There was sign of pole drags and 
sledges, which meant the Sioux were 
moving their women and belongings, and 
were travelling in tribal numbers. They 
were right smack in the middle of them, 
probably, and it was a thought that put a 
tightness clean down their spines. 

They travelled the troughs and dry- 
beds, with flankers scouting every rise. 
Twice they pulled back hastily and stood 
with hands warningly on their horses' 
muzzles while groups of Sioux drifted 
diagonally across their track. It was slow 
and tricky going, ten yards travelled for 
every one gained due forward. Sundown 
caught them still on the Table, and they 
found they had again been spied by trail- 
ing scouts. Smoke signals were rising 
from the ledge where they had looked 
down on the valley. 

"They may know where we are, or it 
may only be a guess from sign," Ambrose 
said. "In any case, it is cold supper, lads." 

"Some day," Lacey grumbled, "I am 
going to go on a nice easy scout with you. 
We will only run up against the devil." 

They were dog-tired, but with dark- 
ness, Ambrose pushed them along, and in 
two hours they climbed the steep grade 
of a high ridge. The top held no cover 
but sparse brush and boulders and was 
fiat as a pan. They made cold camp, 
shivering under saddle blankets. 



ADVENTURE 



*, AT MIDNIGHT, a wind 
S~^£ lifted out of dead calm and 

(jr^/J and slashed at them with a 
» ' vicious whine. Cloud Peak'3 
crown was ripped in fragments against 
a cold white moon. The wind bit at their 
flesh and knifed through their bones, and 
the cold came down in numbing, solid 
layers. The horses were down, and now 
Ambrose kicked them up, and put on alter- 
nate horse guards to keep them whipped 
into motion. 

At daylight, the wind stopped as at a 
signal. Lacey cursed, "It would! Now 
we'll likely roast!" 

Ambrose inspected their pinched, blue- 
fleshed faces and pounded some blood into 
their backs. "At least, we're not roasting 
on a fire yet!" 

"We're likely to," Lacey growled. 
"There are only two ways down, both 
single file and tricky, and there will be 
Sioux ambush at both trail-ends." 

"They'll have a long wait," Ambrose 
told him. 

Lacey looked at him with angered, 
mocking gaze. "You see any nice fresh 
springs around up here?" 

"You talk too much," Ambrose 
grunted. "Keep yer big trap shut before 
I put a fist in it!" 

He moved along the edge of the ridge 
afoot, eyes searching the sheer walls. 
Where there was grade, it was almost 
perpendicular, and mottled with sharp 
outcroppings and treacherous slides. Even 
the famt Big Horn trail rambled to the 
far end of the ridge, which was sign 
enough. If there was a crevice, one of 
those cloud-hopping sheep was sure to 
have been there sometime. 

"Well, you've done it this time!" Lacey 
grumbled with gloomy satisfaction. 
"You've got us swinging at the top of the 
world with no way to get down. We will 
thirst ourselves weak and then get massa- 
cred, and we'll all win a medal when 
we're gone to our eternal glory!" 

"You are getting fidgety as a damned 
infantryman!" Ambrose barked. "What's 
wrong with going down here ?" 

Lacey stared at the sheer wall beneath 
his feet. It was a wash that had indented 
the ridge. Countless rains and winds had 
scoured out a sandstone slide as smooth 
as cement and steeper than an Alpine 



roof. "Ye're gone berserk with mountain 
fever!" the corporal said. 

"Nothing but talk!" Ambrose rasped. 
"Will you get movin', or must I send you 
skiddin' down there on yer backside?" 

Allowing for the angle, the drop was, 
he judged, about a hundred feet. With 
nine picket ropes, they could just make 
it. He let Lacey down first, using a loop 
under his buttocks with his heels gouging 
hard against the wall. The length just 
made ground, which meant that with a 
horse it was going to be about three feet 
short ... if the horse didn't twist loose or 
snap the line and plummet on his head! 

Ambrose let down two more men, and 
the quivering of their bodies when they 
hit the ground showed the affect of alti- 
tude and strain. He skidded the first horse 
down with a loop caught under its flanks 
and brought up beneath with a runner 
through its bridle to hold its head in line. 

The horse backed down, trembling with 
fright. One slip of its hind legs and the 
loop would zip out from under it. One 
panicked pitch of its head, and it would 
loop over backwards, and roll out of bal- 
ance. The ropes were strong, but not 
meant to hold against dead weight. Watch- 
ing the horse slide toward them, Lacey 
could recall no Sioux skirmish or ambush 
as harrowing. 

He let go a blast of breath as the ani- 
mal's hind hoofs touched the bottom, 
then realized with an epic string of pro- 
fanity that the worst was yet to come. The 
animal's weight was pulling against the 
loop so there was no way to slip it without 
untying the knot. That meant shouldering 
each frenzied and quivering animal up- 
right while he got under it and worked at 
the square hitch. 

At the end of two hours, the horses and 
all of the men but Ambrose stood upon 
the floor of the chute. Wiping sweat clear 
of his eyes, Lacey looked up and rasped, 
"Now, he is stuck up there or must come 
down and leave our ropes, and I hope the 
Sioux catch him while he's figuring it 
out!" 

There was a good deal more to this than 
the matter of losing government equip- 
ment. Before they got out of the moun- 
tains they would almost certainly have 
vital need of their picket ropes again. 

They watched Ambrose move around 



HUNTING PARTY 



103 



the rim perplexedly, and finally come over 
the side and let himself down hand over 
hand. Midway he paused for rest with 
boots braced against the side. But the 
strength to hold there was not in either 
his arms or legs, and a leg gave and 
banged him violently against the wall. He 
skidded a yard and caught, but it was a 
drain on his strength and a hurt, and they 
saw the wince and sudden pallor of his 
face. 

"Serves him right 1" Lacey said, but his 
eyes were riveted upon the sergeant's 
fight. After a space he said quietly, "Get 
three saddle blankets, boys. On the dou- 
ble." 

They squared them and stood with them 
forming a landing net. Ambrose stopped 
at thirty-five feet, and again at thirty, and 
again, almost immediately beneath. Touch- 
ing the rope, Lacey could feel the heave of 
the sergeant's tortured lungs and the throb 
of his quivering muscles. 

"He is a heavy man," the corporal 
mumbled, "and will land like a rock. Hold 
steady." 

At twenty-five feet, Ambrose stopped 
to rest again and the hot drops of his sweat 
came down like rain. His legs buckled, 
leaving him hanging against his knees. 
They saw his arms pulled out slowly to 
full-length overhead, and his hands begin 
to slip. The sound of his breath pounded 
down on them in great, torn gasps. 

"Let go," Lacey called up, "and drop. 
Relax." 

The sergeant let go and dropped heavi- 
ly. Hitting the blankets feet first, he 
ripped through, but at the same time 
bounced. He bounced hard and smashed 
his nose against the wall, and came back 
down with blood spurting from his face. 

LACEY had him laid out on 
the ground and bathed his 
hands and knees and face 
with most of what water 
they had left. He rubbed bear grease from 
a can into the raw flesh, treating him as 
gently as a woman with his big calloused 
hands. But when Ambrose sat up, Lacey 






Allowing for the angle, the 
drop was about a hundred 
feet. With nine picket ropes, 
they could just make it. 



ADVENTURE 



said disgustedly, "It is too bad we did 
not let you land upon the flooring! You 
ripped three good blankets, you big ox. 
Why do you think I told you to relax?" 

Ambrose felt of his nose and scowled. 
"Why didn't you come up after me?" he 
rasped. 

He got up and the strain upon him was 
clear in the tight pull and the pallor of his 
face. He grabbed the end of the rope and 
gave it a few whirling snaps, and they 
watched the loops travel upward, and un- 
snap the knotted top. It came down, bring- 
ing a small rock the size of a fist. 

Lacey watched this procedure with per- 
plexity, knowing there had only been one 
rock near the rim-top and that not of a 
nature to crotch a rope. He moved over 
and picked up the small rock, examining 
the edge of it and finding it mashed with 
play against a bigger stone. He threw 
Ambrose a glance of grudging respect. 

"You mean you used this for a lock- 
rock?" he demanded. 

"What else?" the sergeant grunted. 

"Only an absolute idjit would trust his 
weight to that!" Lacey stated with convic- 
tion. "Now you know the kind of ser- 
geant we've got, buckos ... a simpleton ! " 

Ambrose made noises in his throat; he 
was too spent to hand out the fist that 
was his inclination. The weight of the 
horses had played hob with the knots. 
They spent a half hour cursing and rip- 
ping their fingers raw getting their picket 
lines apart again. 

They followed a drybed out of the wash, 
riding low beneath the rim until they had 
twisted across behind a row of upthrown 
hills. In late morning they stopped for 
their first blow, and climbing a gullied hill 
with Lacey, Ambrose cut for sign upon 
the ridge. He looked a long time, and 
then turned with a tough grin. "That is a 
pinto tethered to them alders, and no 
rock!" 

"I have been looking at that," Lacey 
said, "for a whole ten minutes. Nobody 
but a thickheaded Dutchman could get 
into so much trouble and fall out!" 

"Brains," Ambrose stated. His corporal 
snorted. 

They bellied back and went back to their 
horses, and felt the strike of the sun upon 
them like a hot knife. They cut fresh 
sign, and followed the tracks until they 



spread out like a fan on all sides. Ambrose 
lifted his arm to halt, and considered 
grimly, "That is a party posted out for 
scout. Just in case we got loose and 
headed this way." 

He looked back, and coming to a deci- 
sion, shook his head. "We can't go back," 
he said. "And we can't stay here." He 
narrowed his eyes at a shaft of blinding 
glare breaking down the hollow from a 
mica-desert. "I guess that is our trail." 

"It is six miles acrws there," Lacey 
said. "And that floor is like the lid of 
hell!" 

"It is better," Ambrose stated, "than 
toasting atop a Sioux griddle." 

They moved down the gully, and at the 
edge of the desert felt the solid impact of 
the heat. They were a good nine thousand 
feet, with their hearts tripping from the 
rare air, but it did nothing to kill the heat 
and glare of the desert when the sun was 
strong. He stopped and ran his tongue 
across his lips and stared out into the glit- 
tering bronze flames licking up into the 
hot and solid wall of heat. 

He said, "All right, off man afoot and 
take a stirrup," and dismounting himself, 
whacked his horse and stumbled along 
beside. 

In minutes, the haze gobbled them. 
Their feet were blistering and the heat 
pressed in burning on their lungs. The 
floor was uneven, but there was no per- 
spective in the glare, and the men and 
horses stumbled as they moved along. 
The dust stirred up, choking and saturat- 
ing them like liquid, eating raw lines along 
their sweat creases. At intervals, the men 
shifted from foot to saddle, but the ani- 
mals were slowing, their eyes glazed dull, 
their strength ebbing. 

On open prairie you figured four miles 
an hour alternating foot and saddle. Up 
here, it took them three hours and a half 
to cross. They fought their way upgrade 
and came out of heat as suddenly as from 
a sea onto a beach. They threw them- 
selves to the ground, dead weary, sucking 
for air that no longer scorched their lungs. 
Their muscles felt beaten and their flesh 
was burned black and cracking. 

Ambrose looked them over, and grated 
harshly, "Why, yer a fine looking pack of 
bums! Lacey, yer big platter mouth is 
spread over yer whole face!" 



HUNTING PARTY 



105 




The corporal's eyes fired angrily and 
then suddenly he broke out a harsh, dust- 
choked laugh. "You should see that big 
Dutch schnozzle of yer own!" 

THE men pulled themselves 
half up and grinned with vary- 
ing humor and derision, but 
there was not much humor 
left; they were dead spent. Their 
strength was gone, their muscles one 
throbbing dried-out ache. Their hearts 
were hammering, and there was a buzzing 
in their heads. They needed water and 
rest and hot food and a good night's sleep, 
and considering their needs against their 
chances, Ambrose thought they could not 
have any of them. There was one last 
spring this side of the High Pass, but it 
lay around a shoulder of the mountain 
that might be swarming with Sioux. 

He gave orders for a small drink, and 
one for their horses, which left their can- 
teens stripped. The sun was dropping per- 
pendicularly beyond the gold and azure 
peaks, and its oblique rays glinted off a 
tongue of glacier almost right beside them. 
He said, "I am damned if I know why a 
man ever joins the cavalry" and gave them 
fifteen minutes more, and then signaled 
them to saddles. 

The heat of day lifted with great pulsing 
breaths. The cool gave fresh strength and 
vigor to their bodies, but soon they would 
be cursing it. They moved across a grassed 
and brushed land filled with treacherous 
rain cracks, and hit a steady grade that 
grew precipitous. At sundown they 
stopped to blow at the last fringe of brush. 
Towering over them was a world of solid 
ice and rock. 

They ate cold jerky, which was the best 
they could hope. With the sun's last 
oblique gold and crimson light upon them, 
they looked back to where night had al- 
ready fallen in the valley. They saw fire 
signals at the edge of the desert where 
they had crossed, and shortly, saw signal 
smokes start up on the rim of a high bluff 
opposite. 

Ambrose watched with grim belliger- 
ence in his eyes. He said, "They are sig- 
naling back down onto this side for a party 
to head us off. They'll be racing up that 
next gulch, trying to beat us to the Pass." 

The blistered and bearded men looked 



at him with strained faces. In their minds 
they weighed their chances against de- 
manding a decent hour's rest. There was 
a point at which the human body was 
numb to the threat of danger, and they had 
very nearly reached it. 

The sergeant saw it, and his jaw set, 
and Lacey saw it, and growled, "Well, 
the Injuns will not catch us at the Pass. 
Our sergeant's going to have us dead first 
instead!" 

There were no grins, but it put the 
weight of grim humor in the balance. The 
men moved stiffly, and came to their feet, 
and started along the trail that reached 
above them like a thread. With the sun's 
disappearance, chill struck against them 
like a knife. The cold drifted off the gla- 
cier, spread over the ridge and moved 
down upon them in a steady wave. 

They climbed at a stiff angle, their 
breath whistling with the altitude, their 
minds in a fuzzy, pain-racked blank. Am- 
brose had known vaguely for a long time 
that his horse was stumbling and sliding 
before he realized they had come onto a 
field of barren rock and shale. 

He called a halt, and the men dropped 
down from their horses, and massing to- 
gether like a herd of cattle, slept almost as 
they stood. He had to give Lacey a shak- 
ing and boot Swan and Rider hard to 
make them strip off blankets. He went 
and leaned against a rock and took a chew, 
not daring to sit down while he mounted 
guard. He watched the moon's glow 
brighten beyond the pass. At the first 
edging of solid silver, he kicked Hanrahan 
awake, and sank into stupor himself. 

There had been four guards of a half 
hour each when Lacey shook him violent- 
ly. He battled out of dead sleep, shaking 
his head like a bull. He bent his head for- 
ward and down and pressed hard at the 
nerves at the base of his neck. He lifted 
his head with a fierce blown breath and 
then jumped to his feet and felt the dead- 
ness leave him. It was damned cold and 
he realized his teeth were chattering. 

Lacey said, "There's sound below." 

They walked beyond the fringe of re- 
verberation from the men's hard breath- 
ing, and stood upon a ledge listening in- 
tently. There was a low hogback which 
it was not possible to cross, but barest 
sounds came intermittently up across its 



106 



ADVENTURE 




surface. Twice there was a sound of roll- 
ing stones, and once a heavy sound, as if 
a horse had fallen. 

He was thoroughly awake now and his 
mind worked rapidly. Three sounds in 
that short time suggested a large party. 
Not every horse kicked a rock rolling 
every half mile. He waited silently but 
heard nothing more and finally drew back 
from the edge. "I'd say two hours behind 
if they were on this trail." 

"My guess," Lacey nodded, "I don't 
know that gulch but it is steeper. Maybe 
we're got three." 

"It is not too much," Ambrose grunted, 
and they set to shaking and kicking the 
men awake. The stone field looked pre- 
cariously steep of pitch in the bright silver 
light. They charged it, leaning against the 
grade. On the second switch back, they 
felt their animals begin to peter out, and 
got down to lead. They had to beat and 
pull their horses the last three miles. 

THEY entered the Pass and 
stopped to blow, and they 
looked like gaunt specters 
from hell in the shifting 
silver light. Men and horses were about 
done in. They needed at least an hour's 
rest desperately. But dawn lay beyond 
the Pass in a pearl gray mist, and it was 
important not to be caught silhouetted 
against the sky. 

They stumbled through, floundering, 
falling, cursing, crying with fatigue and 
half-crazed from the rare air. They stum- 
bled out into the first warmth of the sun, 
and looked down upon the zigzag of the 
trail, and their mouths were thick as cot- 
ton with a mad thirst. 

Ambrose said, "We have got to hit 
brush before the Sioux come up behind. 
There is a spring just at timber line, 
boys ; keep your minds on that. " 

He started down, stumbling in a half- 
daze. At brush line, the grade eased and 
his horse began to find its balance. An 
hour below, he got back in the saddle. 
From desert and rock, his boots had gone 
clean through. He looked around at his 
men once, and saw the fierce burning and 
the hollows around their eyes, and knew 
the signs. They were dead beat. He kept 
hold of his pommel and set his teeth, and 
kept his gaze ahead. 



The sun was striking at them with real 
heat when he looked back at the Pass and 
saw those damnable signal fires put their 
smoke plumes toward the clouds. He had 
hoped they would have no means of mak- 
ing fire, but they had carried tinder. 

He gave a hoarse grunt for Lacey and 
barked from a swollen throat, "That will 
draw an ambush below. At the spring." 

Lacey answered, cracked and raw of 
voice, ' The horses have got to have water. 
The boys can't last much longer either." 

"I'll ride ahead and draw them off," 
the sergeant said. "Ride in fast and water 
up and then cut down that gulch and meet 
me at the end." 

He rode ahead and they watched him 
round the corner above timber. They 
were at the corner when they heard the 
first distance-dimmed shot and the hoarse, 
savage yells. There were two more shots 
and then the drumming of running hoofs. 

Lacey growled over his shoulder, 
"Come along, and make it fast!" Riding 
in on the spring he had his canteen ready 
as his horse dropped its head to drink. 

They watered and turned down the 
gulch at a dangerous stride. The gray 
shadows reached at them and the silence 
mocked their hurried sounds. Abruptly, 
the sound of scattered firing trailed up 
dimly from beneath. They hit the floor 
and the sounds came stronger. Riding 
from the mouth they saw Ambrose holed 
up in a boulder nest holding off ten 
braves. He had taken position so that 
the Sioux were at an angle. They were 
not conscious of the others until the fusil- 
lade of fire smashed into them, and one 
Sioux pitched. 

The others broke in their circling and 
milled, and foolishly emptied their few 
guns at Lacey's crowd. Ambrose ripped 
out a savage yell and cried, "Charge!" 
Sabers gleamed and they struck the unde- 
cided Indians with cold steel. There was 
a milling and moil of dust, thick with 
yells and shouts. Then six Indians broke 
free and raced back into timber. 

Ambrose staggered out from the rocks, 
hit in four places but only grazed. His 
knees buckled under him and he sat hard 
upon the ground. Putting a canteen to 
his lips, Lacey growled, "Just a damned 
panty waist for a sergeant!" 

Ambrose took a long full drink, and 



HUNTING PARTY 



107 



wiped the back of a hairy hand across his 
lips. "Who'd they get?" 

"Nobody," Lacey grunted. "Swan and 
Rayburn are knifed up a bit. You hurt?" 

"Hell, no !" Ambrose growled, and took 
another drink. "We're still twelve miles 
from trail and we're going to have one 
devil of a ride for it !" 

He got to his feet, and tending his horse, 
climbed back into the saddle. He put his 
horse into a steady jog, and held it to the 
pace. They hit the Bozeman and then 
the Clearwater. Looking back, they saw 
streamers of dust hanging every which 
way across the mountain. 

Ambrose gave a tough grin through 
the enormous burden of weariness he felt. 
He said. "There'll be a patrol along in 
an hour. Strip down and let yer bony 
carcasses soak up some of that water. ' 

Swan was the first to have enough and 
climbing the bank demanded, "You don't 
figure to make us shave?" 

"Hell, no!" Ambrose grunted back. 
"Where d'ya think we're going, to a dress 
parade?" 

J% THE bath freshened them, 
HP^n taking the worst of the ache 
/s\ and strain from their bodies. 
^ " At three o'clock the patrol 
rode by, and joining the detachment, they 
rode on in. Ambrose brought his men 
to a halt before officers' stoop where Cap- 



tain Graham was having a cool drink with 
Maxwell. 

Ambrose saluted with his casual, 
slightly truculent manner and then spat. 
"Scout reporting Cloud Peak circle, Cap- 
tain. Sioux are making a gather through 
the center valley to come out this side of 
Fort Smith. There'd be, I'd guess, about 
two hundred warriors." 

Graham looked at him, at the lines 
drawn like webs from the corners of his 
mouth and eyes, at the gauntness of his 
bearded face, and the stiffness of his hands, 
at his boots. "What else?" 

"Nothing but in line of duty. Little 
skirmish and four Sioux dead." He could 
not hold his enormous yawn. Then he 
said, "Wasn't much hunting, Captain." 

Graham answered his casual salute and 
watched the squad ride back toward sta- 
bles. From the signs he had seen, his ex- 
perience filled in the details. He could al- 
most have drawn a precise map. 

Vaguely, Maxwell's irritated tone 
floated through his thoughts. "On my 
word, George, you've let them get all out 
of hand! A week for a fifty mile circle, 
and a report they could make from riding 
along the Bozeman Trail ! From the looks 
of them, I'd risk they've been holed up on 
a good drunk." 

Maybe you're right, Max," Graham 
said without disturbance. "We get pretty 
lax at these frontier posts." 



PARDON MY POISON PLATTERS \ 

By Fergus Truslow 



Ex-GI Wade's record factory was strictly legit . . . 
until he saw the shapely nylons under the work- 
bench — and his partner drank a cyanide cocktail. 



Plus "Death's Glass Slipper" by Robert 
Martin and other exciting novelettes and 
shorts in the May issue — on sale now! 





WiVAWWAViViV.".'.'; 



.vwwwvw 



MEETING ON THE ICE 



By 
JIM KJELCAARD 



JOHN DONNELLY had not forgot- 
ten Nactoo, the Eskimo, and Wal- 
ters, his white companion. But he 
did not think of them constantly, because 
he could think of little except himself. 

He walked with a shuffling tread, and 
his head was bent towards the ice over 
which he travelled. Blowing out of the 
ice pack, the wind beat against his back. 
Donnelly hunched his shoulders together, 
as though to ward off the bitter wind that 
was blowing right through his caribou- 
skin clothing and into his flesh. 

He seemed to have forgotten the time 



when he was a man, walking with two 
other men towards a polar island whereon 
Walters had been positive that they would 
find a great deposit of uranium. To John 
Donnelly that was another world and an- 
other life, one so different from this that 
he had difficulty recalling exactly what 
had taken place. He knitted his brows 
because he could not remember, and de- 
voted concentrated effort to reconstruct- 
ing the chain of events which had brought 
him here. The picture he conceived was 
only a hazy and a partial one. 
He had been loitering about a trading 




When the bear launched his charge, the 
man jerked his riBe to his hip, and shot. 

108 




ILLUSTRATED BY DANIEL PIEECE 

109 



110 



ADVENTURE 



post, waiting for what might turn up, 
when Walters told him of the island and 
its wealth. Intrigued, Donnelly had im- 
mediately declared his willingness to help 
re-locate it, and he had had enough money 
to buy a dog team and supplies as well as 
to hire Nactoo. Donnelly remembered 
that much quite clearly. 

The rest was a vague dream, a dis- 
torted nightmare of which he could piece 
together only parts. Following Walters' 
compass course, he, Walters, and Nactoo 
had travelled for many days over the ice 
pack. Then . . . 

Donnelly frowned. All that he under- 
stood perfectly was a great hunger, and a 
mighty gnawing in the pit of his stomach. 
There were still times when he seemed to 
be transported out onto the ice pack. 
Dimly he remembered dropping behind 
Walters, Nactoo, and the running dogs, 
to tighten a loose sight on his rifle. Start- 
ing out on the trail of his companions, 
he had come upon suddenly-broken ice, 
and this was one of the parts he couldn't 
seem to forget. 

Nactoo and the sledge and dogs were 
gone, but Walters was clinging desper- 
ately to the edge of the ice. He was look- 
ing • straight at Donnelly, and shouting 
something which Donnelly could not hear 
above the roaring wind, but Walters' 
pleading face spoke for itself. Then more 
ice crumbled and Walters disappeared 
with it. 

It had all happened in less than five 
seconds, Donnelly told himself, and he 
had tried his best to rescue Walters. But 
he knew that Walters had clung to the 
ice for more than three minutes, and Don- 
nelly might have rescued him had he 
dared try. He had let Walters die. 

That memory was no longer so tor- 
turing, or anything save an uncomfort- 
able background thought, because now 
Donnelly seemed unable to think clearly 
of anything save the food cache they had 
left on Cape Moon. He could reach it, 
he told himself. Donnelly checked his 
compass, and swung the rifle from his 
right hand to his left. All he had to do, 
he told himself again, was keep going. He 
would not be one of those fools who 
brought about their own death because 
they were afraid to fight a little harder. 

A great surge of confidence crept over 




him. He knew his compass, and com- 
passes do not fail. Not once, he was cer- 
tain, had he varied the minutest portion of 
a degree from the course that would take 
him straight to the life-saving food. In 
fact, he must be very near it right now; 
he had been walking for many days. 

Some of the weariness faded from Don- 
nelly's smile. 

MORE than two months 
ago the old polar bear had 
started a journey over the 
ice pack. He had no special 
purpose in mind and no particular desti- 
nation ; he was simply impelled by a rest- 
lessness that would not let him be still. 
He had to wander because he was a polar 
bear and because he had grown weary of 
his old haunts. 

He set an aimless course, sometimes 
travelling straight for two or three days 
and at other times doubling back on the 
way he had come. When he was hungry, 
the old bear killed and ate one of the 
numberless seals that basked on the ice 
flanking open leads. It was good and 
easy hunting and the old bear had grown 
fat. 

Now he was so gaunt that his belly skin 
hung in great sagging folds, and he was 
very surly for the good hunting had run 
out. Many days had passed since the old 
bear was able to kill and eat a seal. He 
had stalked the last, a single seal lying 
alone, at the edge of a narrow lead. After 
eating his fill he had slept. Rising, the 
old bear walked on in the direction he 
wished to go. 

So doing, he ventured onto thick ice 
where there were no open leads. There 
were seals, but they lay beneath the ice 
and breathed only through gnawed holes. 
The old polar bear could not catch them. 

On the third day he turned back to 
the frozen remnants of the last seal he had 
killed, and ate the stone-hard skin, bones, 
and flesh. For a moment, after eating, the 
bear sat like a great dog on the ice and let 
his huge head droop so that his nose 
touched the few remaining shreds of 
seal. Then, because he was still de- 
termined to go east, he swung again in 
that direction. 

He knew that he could not catch seals, 
and therefore that he could not eat, in 



MEETING ON THE ICE 



111 



that area of thick Ice which lay imme- 
diately ahead of him. But the old bear 
had crossed many such barren stretches 
without ever having to go hungry for a 
dangerous length of time. He was cer- 
tain that he would find food before very 
long. 

There was still little except thick ice; 
the old bear travelled for three days be- 
fore he ran across an open lead with 
seals basking at its edges. The old bear 
flattened himself on the ice, pushing him- 
self along with his hind paws and pull- 
ing with his front ones. For all his twelve 
hundred pounds he made no noise, and 
his yellow-white fur blended so perfectly 
with the ice that he was almost invisible. 
Certain of a kill, the old bear slid for- 
ward. 

He would have killed had he not made 
an error. All his attention was fastened 
on a fat seal at the edge of the lead, and 
he ignored entirely an ice hummock near 
it. Lying behind that hummock, a seal 
that the bear did not see saw the bear as 
it passed. The seal splashed into the 
water. Alarmed, the rest of the seals 
wriggled from the ice into the open lead 
and dived deeply. 

The old bear stood up, working his 
jaws angrily and glaring his frustration. 
He should have eaten here, and the fact 
that he had not been able to do so whetted 
his already-keen edge of hunger. 

The old bear went on, quartering back 
and forth over the ice and trying to find 
another open lead. There were none, and 
the scent of untouchable seals at their 
breathing holes was maddening. The old 
bear's increasing hunger infuriated him, 
and fury mounted to consuming rage. 

He stopped suddenly, snuffling into 
the wind and reading with his nose the 
scent it carried. The old bear shuffled 
nervous feet, and swung his head to look 
behind him. He turned again to face in- 
to the wind. 

The wind brought man scent to him, 
and the old bear still carried in his side 
an imbedded slug which was an always- 
present reminder of what men could do. 
They were mightier than he, and had he 
been well-fed the old bear would have run. 
Now he did not feel like running, for he 
was desperately hungry. 

Slowly, exercising all his craft and cun- 




ning, the old bear began to stalk John 
Donnelly. 

DESPITE his efforts to 
achieve one, John Donnelly 
l ^■»" — f still had no constantly-clear 
f ft f^ picture of just what had hap- 

pened. He knew only what was about to 
happen, and everything hinged on the 
fact that he was walking towards the food 
cache on Cape Moon. He was positive 
that he was doing so because he constantly 
checked his course with his compass, and 
compasses do not lie. 

But the obsession which gripped him 
was not completely overwhelming. Most 
of the time it held him, but sometimes it 
relaxed to let him think of other things. 
It was at such times that he thought of 
Nactoo, and of Walters clinging to the 
edge of the ice. When these thoughts re- 
curred they were so real and near that 
Donnelly seemed to be re-living the actual 
experiences, and he screamed aloud. He 
had made no effort to save Walters and, 
in spite of his self-assurances that he could 
have done nothing, he knew otherwise. 
Thought of the food cache always crowded 
these nightmares from his mind. 

He knew that he had to be very near 
the cache, but he could not be certain of 
how near. Always he tried to force from 
his mind the shadow of what might hap- 
pen should he not be near enough. He 
tried to think of other things which he 
might be doing. 

He knew something of arctic hunting, 
and he was sure that there was a method 
of taking seals from beneath the ice, but 
whoever attempted such a feat must have a 
dog and he had none. The notion that only 
lack of a dog stood between himself and 
life was an aggravating one, but he could 
do nothing about it. There was just no 
way of getting a dog. 

He must try to think. Other men had 
been caught on the ice pack far from food 
or any source of food, and they had sur- 
vived. They knew ways to procure 
something to eat, at least enough to keep 
them alive until they could get to a 
cache. John Donnelly could think of 
nothing. 

He knew a moment of great depression. 
He had walked for very many days — how 
many he did not know — and all that time 



118 



ADVENTURE 



he had eaten nothing. Perhaps he was 
only deluding himself and would not find 
the cache. Maybe, when he became weak 
enough, he would simply fall down on the 
ice and freeze. The thought was a strange 
and morbidly fascinating one. But some- 
how there seemed to be no real connec- 
tion between such a possibility and him- 
self. Other men might be overtaken by 
that fate but surely he never would. 

He turned around, and the corners of 
his eyes wrinkled as he studied the hum- 
mocks and pressure ridges through which 
he had come. He tried to think clearly 
about what he had done, and could think- 
only of the food cache on Cape Moon. 
John Donnelly stared at something which 
had not been there before. 

It looked like ice, but it was not ice. 
The wind ruffled it, and wind did not 
move ice hummocks. The curious thought 
occurred to Donnelly that he was looking 
at a polar bear, and at the same time he 
had the even more curious sensation that 
the bear was hunting him. The bear, 
too, must be hungry. 

As slowly and as carefully as he could, 
John Donnelly raised his rifle. However, 
he no longer seemed able to control it. 
The sights blurred. The barrel wavered, 
and when he looked again the bear was 
gone. 

For a moment he stood bewilderedly, 
anxiously holding the rifle and staring at 
the place where the big bear had been. 
Then he realized the opportunity he had 
missed and a sob broke from him. 

John Donnelly choked it back, and hope 
replaced despair. The notion that the 
bear was hunting him strengthened. Per- 
haps he could be persuaded to return. 
John Donnelly weaved among the hum- 
mocks, holding his rifle ready. 

He knew that he must have this bear 
if he was going to live. John Donnelly 
climbed to the top of a snow-covered heap 
and looked all about. He could see over 
the tops of the hummocks and ridges, and 
the snow-covered level expanse which lay 
beyond them. This was a good place to 
stay. He could see the bear if it moved. 



THE OLD polar bear was 
almost ready to rush his victim 
when the man looked around. 
Without thought, acting only 



upon sure knowledge that the rifle was 




deadly, the bear glided behind a ridge and 
slipped away. 

He went neither far nor fast, for great 
hunger still ached in his belly and, since 
nothing else was available, he knew that 
he must have this man to eat if he would 
survive. However he had to get him by 
stealth and take no chances with the rifle. 

As soon as he was certain that the man 
could no longer see him, the old bear 
slunk back. He came cautiously, testing 
the wind with every step and verifying 
with his nose the man's exact location. 

Step by step, always shielding and never 
revealing himself, the old bear crept along 
parallel to the man's trail. When the 
right second came he would rush. 

The man had climbed and was stand- 
ing upon a snow-covered hump that was 
separated from and higher than the ice 
hummocks and ridges. 

The hump stood alone, with ten yards 
separating it from the nearest ice hum- 
mock. The man on top held his rifle 
ready, but he was staring hard in the op- 
posite direction and his back was to the 
bear. Slowly, staying behind hummocks 
until he was almost within the exposed 
ten yards leading to the hump, the bear 
stalked forward. He gathered himself for 
the swift rush that would take him across 
those ten yards and up the hump. 

The bear launched his charge. 

He was within feet of the snow-covered 
hump when the man turned, jerked his 
rifle to his hip, and shot. The bear felt 
the terrific impact of the slug, and its 
burning course into his body. He faltered, 
but he did not stop or even slow his pace. 
The old bear struck once. 

The man collapsed like a fire-seared 
plant, and he did not move again. For a 
moment the old bear stood on weakening 
legs which, mysteriously, refused to do 
his bidding any more. Like a slowly-de- 
flating balloon, the bear melted down be- 
side the man he had killed. 

That night a heavy snow covered the 
hump, and made it just another mound 
forever lost in the vastness of the arctic. 
But before the arctic cold got in its 
freezing work, body heat from the two 
things that lay on the hump melted the 
snow beneath them. Side by side, they 
lay on the tarpaulin that covered the food 
cache at Cape Moon. 




THE CAMP-FIRE 

Where Readers, Writers and Adventurers Meet 



THREE very welcome newcomers to 
the ranks of the Writers' Brigade this 
month. First, we want to introduce Arthur 
S. Riggs, whose byline should have ap- 
peared in these pages long before now — 
for Commander Riggs' career has been 
every bit as adventurous in its way as 
that of the swashbuckling hero of his ex- 
citing novelette — "The Sword of Captain 
Duardo" — which gets this issue off to a 
rousing start. 

From Who's Who we learn that Arthur 
Stanley Riggs is a retired commander in 
the U. S. Naval Reserve with a long and 
colorful experience at sea. A former 
newspaperman and editor, he is a special- 
ist in Italian medieval history, and the 
author of many historical books and arti- 
cles. He was awarded the rank of Officer 
of the Crown of Italy by the late King Vit- 
torio Emmanuele, and decorated Knight 
Commander, Royal Order of Isabel the 



113 



Catholic (Spain) ; he served in the Span- 
ish-American War and World War I — 
and in World War II acted as Librarian 
of the Office of Cable Censorship and was 
awarded a special letter of commendation 
by the Secretary of the Navy for outstand- 
ing performance of duty. 

Commander Riggs writes that he has 
just returned from a flying trip to Panama 
— "Navy flew me down, Air Force brought 
me back" — and we gather that he is a very 
busy man indeed. But we're mighty glad 
he found time to write "The Sword of 
Captain Duardo." In our opinion, it's one 
whale of an adventure yarn ! But let's let 
him speak for himself — 

I suppose that I am one of the oldest men 
you have ever graciously admitted to the 
charmed circle of the Camp-Fire. That 
makes me feel pretty humble in asking ad- 
mittance to a group of lusty young buckos 
to whom a man of seventy must seem a true 



114 



ADVENTURE 



old-timer. But I, too, have had ray share of 
adventuring in various places and been mixed 
up (legally and otherwise) with four wars, 
tried out the tropics, been shot down m the 
trenches in 1918, and have just flown to 
Panama and back despite my dislike of any 
but water transportation. I have never shot 
a tiger, but I once got entangled with a giant 
ray and was towed all over Manila Bay for 
hours until some soldiers shot the brute for 
me. I should have shot the Filipino boatman 
who harpooned the monster and then had no 
axe to cut him loose. 

My specialty in recent years has been the 
study of interoceanic waterways or canals, 
especially the Panama Canal, on which I 
have already done five articles, three of 
which have been reprinted in full in the 
Congressional Record as documents of na- 
tional importance. My lifelong interests,, 
however, have been history and the Navy. 
In 1898 I was an enlisted man in the Fleet ; 
an observer attached to the British, French 
and Belgian Armies in World War I ; and 
during the last fracas was Chief Librarian 
of the Office of Cable Censorship, with ad- 
ditional duty as Information Officer. This 
was one of those headache jobs nobody 
wanted but somebody had to do, and do 
right.. It took a lot out of me, especially as 
I was eager to get back to sea, where I had 
a lot of non-naval experience, some in sail. 

The story in this issue of Adventure is a 
curious by-product of a big historical job I 
undertook some years ago. No one had in- 
cluded between two covers the astonishing 
story of the rise and development, and then 
the crash of four of the great Italian mari- 
time republics between the fifth and the 
eighteenth centuries as being the real foun- 
dation of the Italian Renaissance, and so of 
importance in world history. The research 
and slow collation of facts took many years. 
In the course of it I ran into one very curi- 
ous statement about a citizen of one of the 
republics who was captured by a pirate and 
sold, not for a good price as a sturdy galley 
slave, but for a mere lot of onions. That 
was too rich a hint to forget, so I filed the 
reference and data, and eventually Messer 
Duardo emerged like Topsy, full grown. The 
curious feature of the rivalry between the 
states of Amalfi, Pisa, Genoa and Venice 
was that they hated each other and fought 
each other quite as cheerily as they did the 
Saracens, and, being good traders even be- 
fore they were good Christians, they traded 
serenely with the enemy whenever they 
could make a deal, notwithstanding the threat 
of the Pope to excommunicate anybody 
caught selling the Saracens anything that 
could be used against the so-called Christian 
nations. Perhaps after Messer Duardo gets 
back from his present Crusade, maybe too 
much disabled to do any real fighting again, 
we may be able to involve him in some devi- 
ous trades and find out what it means to 
have an expert "kiss the feet" — bastinado 
to you who have never seen its results. I 
did, just once. Which reminds me that re- 



cently in the little town of Chorrera, in 
Panama, I heard of an Indian trick prac- 
ticed on the Spaniards in the early seven- 
teenth century. The Indians caught some 
Spaniards, and because the whites had been 
so crazy about gold, tortured them unmerci- 
fully and finally killed them by "giving them 
gold freely" — lots of it, melted and poured 
into their their veins. 

Gentlemen, your pardon. I talk too 
damn much. 

"C 1 H. TOUSSAINT, who contributes 
-*- i# the moving story of a great-hearted 
dog and his beloved master in "The Re- 
union" — see page 70 — steps up to the 
Camp-Fire with the following introduc- 
tion — 

I was born a reasonably long time ago at 
Barryville, New York, which is a commun- 
ity so small you can't find it on most maps, 
right along the New York-Pennsylvania 
border. There was a tradition in that area 
that if once a youngster wet his feet in the 
Delaware River he would eventually return 
to spend the balance of his days there. I 
fell in at an early age and perhaps that is 
why I eventually came to live in Philadelphia 
which is on the Delaware River. The jour- 
ney from one place to the other, however, 
was rather long and very devious. 

I received my Grammar School and High 
School education at Matteawan and Fish- 
kill-on-Hudson, New York (now officially 
named Beacon, New York). This happens 
to be the same Grammar School which J. V. 
Forrestal attended, and he and I were in the 
same classes — not that that makes any differ- 
ence because it is reasonable to assume he 
has forgotten even my name by this time. 

I enlisted in the Army shortly before the 
outbreak of World War I, and having been 
so fortunate as to come through a good part 
of that war without getting very badly dam- 
aged, I was sent to the training school for 
Artillery Officers at Samur, France, where 
the French Instructor Staff, while teaching 
us the latest techniques in artillery fire di- 
rection and control, also seemingly tried to 
kill us off by teaching us to ride horses over 
hurdles and down dirt slides without benefit 
of reins or stirrups. After graduating from 
there I finished out the war with the feeling 
that nothing much could happen to me that 
hadn't happened already. 

In the years between 1919 and the pres- 
ent I have managed to complete my educa- 
tion and have earned a living in the profes- 
sions of Sales Management and Market and 
Sales Research, This type of work requires 
extensive travel and, although this is inter- 
esting for a reasonable number of years, it 
eventually acquires the monotonous charac- 
teristics of a trolley or subway trip. 

A couple of years ago, being fiftyish, it 
dawned upon me that for thrills I was call- 
ing on the memories of a life which has led 
me into some unusual spots and some inter- 



THE CAMPFERE 



115 



esting situations. At about the same time 1 
became rather acutely conscious of the eco- 
nomic pressure exerted by a twelve year old 
daughter, a wife, the income tax, and the 
high cost of living. That's when it occurred 
to me that I might give myself an excuse to 
dwell upon memories by writing of some of 
them, and at the same time acquire a little 
of the extra wherewithal to pay the costs 
of said daughter, wife, income tax and the 
h. c. 1. 

Incidentally, the writing process fills in 
very pleasantly many long hours spent on 
overland trains and in hotels. 

As to the background on how this partic- 
ular story came to be written : It is some- 
what in the nature of a tribute to the best 
of the many Doberman Pinschers I have 
known and owned. The appearance and the 
character of the dog in the story are those 
of my own Gerd von Reyno who passed to 
his reward some seven years ago. The plot 
is a combining and dressing up of several 
separate incidents. For the authentic detail 
of the old-time German police training 
methods, I am indebted to William Necker 
of Libertyville, Illinois, the famous trainer 
of these dogs. As a close friend he told me 
much of the history, the romance and the 
lore of this breed — and he did a wonder- 
ful job of training my intelligent dog and 
his dumb owner to work together. 

AND Thomas Gilchrist, whose unusual 
tale of a man who lived and suffered 
under the spell of a Madagascan curse — 
"The Scarf of O'Shane" — appears on 
page 79, gives us a bit of background on 
himself and explains how he happened to 
write the yarn — 



From bonnie Scotland to sea as a brass- 
pounder at 15. Master's ticket at 25, com- 
mand at 35. At 30, broke away from Brit- 
ish ships, sailed Australian, U. S. and Ca- 
nadian ships thereafter, with periods ashore 
as (1) cafe proprietor, which persuaded me 
I was no businessman, (2) free-lancing, 
mainly radio plays and talks aired in Aus- 
tralia and since in Canada, (3) Chief Nau- 
tical Instructor to Ship & Gun Crew Com- 
mand No. 1, U. S. Army in Australia. This 
last during time off from my jaunt with 
MacArthur from Sydney to Tokyo in com- 
mand of U. S. Army Transports. The war 
was over before I dined with some of Mac- 
Arthur's generals at the Imperial. 

Writing : Under the friendly guidance of 
the late Dick Wetjen and Captain A. E. 
Dingle, I puttered about for a number of 
years selling fiction in British and Aus- 
tralian markets; and I was translated to the 
Danish and German. I became a writer by 
inclination and a sailor of necessity, for I 
wrote stories to establish myself ashore and 
then found I had to go back to sea to write 
the stories. On my odd excursions into the 
New York fiction world, however, I foun- 
dered lamentably until, a year ago, I got the 
right sailing directions and a good pilot. 

One Captain Gow, whom I knew years 
ago as a ship surveyor in Seattle, is respon- 
sible for "The Scarf of O'Shane." The old 
man would reminisce by the hour and he 
spun the yarn that makes the climax of my 
story. He had actually experienced the illu- 
sion, though not, of course, with such serious 
consequences. I had been to Madagascar and 
I had seen things . . . and heard things. So 
I handed them to an Irishman who would 
make the most of them. This one is a no- 
good sonovagun and unworthy of the Ould 
Country — but I hope you like the story. 



Ireland Must Be Heaven 'Cause The 
Monon Don't Co There" 

35c Per Copy 

$3.50 A Year — was good for a laugh in any Indiana comedy act 

until vaudeville went out — and nearly took the 
Monon with it. How a dynamic young Texan named 
John Barriger is streamlining this once defunct, cow- 
pasture railroad, and making it pay off, is just one 
of the many exciting feature stories in the big 
May issue of RAILROAD, now on your newsstand. 
Don't miss it! 

RAILROAD 

205 E. 42nd St., New York City 17 




JIB 



ADVENTURE 



HERE'S an item which we thought was 
well worth inclusion in Camp-Fire — 
the story of the American Legion — not the 
one we all know, but the original Legion, 
an organization sponsored by Adventure 
'way back in 1914. It was brought to our 
attention recently by Legionnaire Harry 
Galbraith — who mailed in a clipping from 
a recent issue of the Denver Post that 
sent us scurrying to the files of old copies 
of Adventure to check the facts. The 
above-mentioned newspaper item, as writ- 
ten by Post staff writer Bernard Kelly, 
follows— 

The last living member of the American 
Legion in EI Paso county is hale and 
hearty today, still carries his card and still 
wears his pin. 

He is Harry Galbraith, 64, veteran news- 
paperman, member of the Colorado Histori- 
cal Society, and a profound believer in the 
horse's place in the too-mechanical world 
of today. 

But the American Legion he belongs to 
is not the present-day veterans' organization 
with millions of members. The American 
Legion he belongs to, and whose pin he 
wears, probably never had more than 50,000 
members, all adventurers. But they were 
patriotic men, ready to go to battle for the 
United States of America "on a moment's 
notice." 

The American Legion Galbraith belongs 
to, according to his story, was "a body of 
about 50,000 men, organized by Teddy 
Roosevelt and Gen. Leonard Wood in 1914, 
when World War I broke out in Europe. 

"They were pledged to- go on call, any 
time, day or night, for service at home or 
abroad," he said. 

The men's magazine "Adventure," became 



Interested in the movement and became a 
prime mover In its promotion, with the 
result that word of the venturesome, pa- 
triotic band reached into the far corners 
of the earth. 

"Men came home from the Congo, the 
Yangtze, the Gobi desert and remote places 
everywhere to join," Galbraith said. 

When the United States entered the war 
In 1917 Roosevelt offered the services of the 
unit to President Wilson, but the offer was 
refused, and the organization disintegrated. 

Galbraith held on to his card and pin, 
however. He still has both. The pin, which 
he wears daily, is a round gold lapel but- 
ton three-eighths of an inch in diameter. 
It contains a blue five-pointed star in a 
white field, surrounded by a red border. 

"The only other man in El Paso county 
who belonged, as far as I know," Galbraith 
said, "was the late James Gowdy, justice of 
the peace, who died last August. He once 
saw my pin and recognized it at once." 

Histories of Roosevelt's life make fre- 
quent mention of his "division" and his 
effort to get presidential consent to lead it 
in battle. None refers to the body as the 
American Legion, however. 

"Just the same, that was its name," 
Galbraith said. "That's the name on the 
membership card. Maybe the present Le- 
gion came by its name through somebody 
who was a member of Teddy's American 
Legion." 

Our thanks to Mr. Galbraith for send- 
ing us this interesting story (and to the 
Denver Post for permission to reprint it 
here). Those original Legionnaires of 
T.R.'s "division" must have been true ad- 
venturers as well as patriots. And here's 
hoping Legionnaire Galbraith will be 
wearing that pin and carrying his mem- 
bership card (see cut below) for a good 
many years to come! — K.W.G. 







AMERICAN LEGION, Inc. 

10 BRIDGE STREET NEW YORK CITY 



THIS IS TO CERTIFY THAT 



Harry Ese ...Gajtbraitfe. . 



HAS BEEN 



POUND QUALIFIED AND IS ENROLLED 

1131 



AS SERVICE MEMBER NO. 
AMERICAN LEGION, INC 
WEAR ITS INSIGNIA. 
ATTEST: 



OF THE 

ENTITLED TO 




PHCIIDINT 



THE 

TRAIL 

AHEAD 





It's a fascinating trail next month that winds from the sun-drenched land of Central Africa to 
the silent waste* of the frozen North, to the Far East and back across storm-tossed seas to our 
own great American West. . , , Come along for a thrilling voyage to the far corners of the 
world In the colorful pages of America's finest outdoor-fiction magazine for men. . . . 



CONGO CONTRABAND 

A Gripping Novelette ol Espionage in the Belgian Congo todaT 

By DOCK HOGUE 

LAUGHING RIVER 

A Tale of Murder and Retribution in British Columbia 

By JERRY B. EBERTS 

THE PEARL GAMBLE 

An Unusual Story of Pearls and Pearl-Peeling on the New Guinea Coast 

By CHARLES YERKOW 






DESERT'S QUARRY 

The Fast-Moving Yarn of a Border Pacific Payroll Stickup 

By H. A. DeROSSO 



Plus: "Re-Insurance 98%"— a fact story of a shipwreck off Newfoundland by that master of 
sea narrative, the late Albert Richard Wetjen . . . "Purp With A Purpose"— the waggish tale 
of a determined dog and a moody major of Philippine Scouts, by Edward Arthur Dolph . . . 
"Last Shot in Hell" — the true account of a rip-roarin' son of the West who not only died with 
his boots on but was buried standing up with a loaded rifle on his shoulder, by Harold 
Preece . . . Other exciting yarns and a fine cargo of features and departments — all in the 
big June issue of — 




ON SALE MAY 11th 

117 



mgw 



ASK ADVENTURE 

Information You Can't Get Elsewhere 



PROSPECTS for a prospector in 
Alaska. 

Query: — I have done a lot of travelling 
and can get along anywhere. I like outdoor 
life and do not mind solitude, so I think 
that after I leave the Army I would like 
to try prospecting in Alaska. Can you tell 
me the best place for a lone, independent 
prospector to start out? What should I buy 
to outfit myself for this expedition, and 
approximately what would such an outfit 
cost? Can you suggest books about mining 
that would be helpful to me? 

— Pvt. Donald J. Batchelder 
Hq. Tr. 2nd 5q. 5th Cay. 
APO 201, Unit 1 

Reply by Victor Shaw : — I know Alaska 
well, having lived and prospected there for 
13 years, part of the time just before 
World War II, and can recommend it 
for prospecting and mining unreservedly. 
It's a far better region than any part of 
the States, today. Only trouble : it costs 
more I For transportation, chiefly, as if 
you get your outfit in Seattle its cost is same 
as for going somewhere down here. It has 
one-fifth the area of U.S.A. and has been 
explored for minerals only in certain spots 
yet, and only 50 percent has been surveyed 
and mapped geologically, by the U.S.G.S. 

So far as climate goes, climate along 
coastal areas as far up as Cook Inlet and 
Kodiak Island is about like that of Puget 
Sound, due to the north arm of the Japan 
Current that warms it all on the ocean side 
of the coast ranges. Most of the heavy 
rains you hear about are in the southern 



118 



portion of the "Panhandle," from Ketchi- 
kan up to Skagway and north and west of 
there it rains less — like around Seattle. 
In interior regions there is only normal rain 
everywhere, and winter low temperatures 
are only in the interior and north of Sew- 
ard and Anchorage. You'll get along O.K., 
being the sort of guy you say you are. 

As to possible locations for commercial 
ores : the areas more easily reached have 
been prospected more or less since the 
Klondike days as you must realize, es- 
pecially for quartz gold and gold placeri ; 
but until more recent years NOT by modern 
methods, for the earlier rock hounds and 
pan-shakers went at it blindly — "by guess 
and by Gawd." So, they overlooked plenty 
In a few places not so far inland. One such 
is along the upper part of Cook Inlet's west 
shore, from Mt. Illiamna and Mt. Redoubt 
on up to the mouth of Susitna River oppo- 
site Anchorage. I mean the streams flowing 
into the "Inlet" from the Aleutian Range 
that lies 10 to 20 miles back from the coast 
there. There's gold placer in many of thoae 
streams and their branches, but the coarsest 
gold is inland along the foothills in the 
upper portions of those streams. This for 
the reason that the heavier gold Is dropped 
where the ground flattens off thus slacken- 
ing the water velocity. Lighter gold is 
carried on for a little way and only "flour" 
is found nearer the coast. Get the idea? 
And, by the way, this goes for any gold- 
bearing creek or river. 

And here's another hint : since all placer 
gold comes from a quartz-gold vein in near- 
by hills, if you find pay placer never over- 
look hunting the hillsides above It for the 
parent vein. Maybe it's rich ore. 



ASK ADVENTURE 



119 



There are many other localities down the 
panhandle strip of S. E. Alaska, from Skag- 
way south including the numerous islands 
offshore, of which Prince of Wales, Baran- 
off, and Admiralty and Chichagoff are es- 
pecially favorable, in places. I suggest how- 
ever, that you pick some area among these 
named first, since it'll cost less, before you 
tackle those farther north or in the in- 
terior. And even the latter have been pros- 
pected more at that, along the Kobuk, 
Koyokuk, Chandalar rivers, and branch 
creeks flowing into the Yukon from Forty- 
mile and Klondike on down to St. Michaels. 
Why? Because river travel is cheaper. 

For places named above (say, Cook Inlet) 
you should have at least $500 for a summer's 
work, and $750 or $1,000 is safer. Area3 
north, and inland need a grubstake starting 
at $1,000, at high prices nowadays. 

Regarding outfit: it'll be the same as for 
the States, unless you go inland or north, 
where the clothing item will be different. 
But, the tools and camp outfit will be the 
same as anywhere. Of course foods for 
inland and northern areas are much con- 
densed to save weight. Whereas in coastal 
regions, you can almost live on the country 
outside essential staples, as game and fish 
are plentiful, and easily secured. 

Necessary tools won't cost (in Seattle) 
more than $18-$20 and probably less if you 
get some at a second-hand store, such as 
pick, shovel, miner's single-jack hammer etc. 
And for both lode and placer work they 
should include : a 12-inch goldpan, magnify- 
ing glass, 6-inch horseshoe magnet, a pros- 
pector's pick, 3-lb miner's pick, No. 2 round- 
point shovel, a 5^-pint iron mortar and pes- 
tle to crush ore samples for panning, about 
two square feet of soft buckskin to squeeze 
excess mercury from amalgam, and a wire 
brush to scratch richest gold from bedrock 
seams. Should also have 2-3 lbs miner's 
mercury in proper small jug, and a 1-pint 
iron retort to take gold from amalgam 
leaving saleable bullion, also save the 
mercury. 

Camp outfit will be same used in States : 
a tent, bedroll, cooking equipment, grub, 
rifle, trout tackle, compass, ax, one-man 
crosscut saw, rope, twine, assorted nails, 
notebook, pencils, camera, binoculars, a pair 
heavy hiking boots, woolen underwear and 
extra sox, and so on ; a proper tent can be 
either an A-type, or better the new "um- 
brella type," with a waterproof tarpaulin 
for a ground sheet. In Alaska with plenty 
of wood fuel do open-air cooking, but a 
GI small pressure stove is useful if it 
rains. Costs about $7.50 down here. Um- 
brella tent about $12.50 at Army Surplus 
stores. Binoculars used for hunting and 
examining distant hill cliffs etc., for possible 
ore veins and so on. 

You should also have map, first-aid kit, 
some books I'll mention, and some reports 
on area you're in of mineral resources, if 
possible by the Supt. of U. S. Geological 
Survey. A good map is the "Kroll Map," 



by Kroll Map Co., 2nd St., Seattle, sold 
for $1.00. Large scale detail maps of given 
areas issued by Director of U. S. G. S., 
Washington, D. C. 

BOOKS: Get "A Handbook for Pros- 
pectors," by M. W. von Berenwitz, price 
$4.50 postpaid, sold by McGraw-Hill Book 
Co. ; 330 W. 42nd St., N. Y. C. Or, get it 
nearer from Mineralogist Pub. Co. ; 329 
S. E. 32nd St.; Portland, Ore. 

Also get "Prospecting and Operating 
Small Gold Placers" by Wm. F. Boericke, 
price $1.75 postpaid, sold by Mine and 
Smelter Supply Co., Box 5270, Denver, 
Colo. 

In addition, I suggest you get an im- 
portant book by Prof. Wilkerson titled: 
"Determinative Mineralogy for Alaskan 
Prospectors," used as a textbook by Uni- 
versity of Alaska, priced at $1.25, and sold 
by the Alaska Sportsman, Ketchikan, 
Alaska, Editor Emery Tobin. You'll get 
special service by naming me, as I used to 
be on their staff. 

Another excellent book is by Stephen 
Jacy, price $1.50 also sold by Alaska Sports- 
man. Jacy is an Alaska prospector, who 
wrote the information he gained at first- 
hand prospecting up there. It's O.K. I've 
always planned to issue a book myself, but 
never got around to it. 

About taking a short course in rocks and 
minerals : it will be a great benefit to you, 
also in connection with the book concerning 
that subject mentioned just above by Prof. 
Wilkerson. Most universities the past 10-15 
years have put in these short courses, and 
I'm thinking the Calif. University at Berke- 
ley must have one, if you'll inquire there: 
maybe they'll give it free to a GI, if so. 

Ac any rate, it'll be a big help because to 
find favorable areas to prospect, you have to 
know just what types of rock the various 
commercial ores occur in, as well as what 
the ores look like in veins on surface, etc. 
In such courses they have samples to study, 
and that is very essential. And if I can 
help further write me direct any time. 

In closing I'll say by reading the books 
mentioned and, when you go, STICKING 
TO IT, you'll win success, for it sure is 
there for you — if you sabe enough to find it. 
No kidding ! 

NO SWELLED heads among the 
Jivaros. 

Query : — I have read that there is a 
savage tribe of Indians in western South 
America that has a process of shrinking the 
severed heads of enemies killed in battle. 
I believe these heads are reduced down to 
about the size of a baseball, as I remember, 
though the features remain perfect in 
miniature. I'm wondering if you could tell 
me briefly how this is accomplished. 
— C. M. Roach 
Takoma Park, D. C. 



120 



ADVENTURE 



Reply by Edgar Young : — The Indians you 
inquire about are the Jivaros of southern 
Ecuador, who were still practicing head- 
hunting when I was in that vicinity ; but 
who now are said to have abandoned the 
practice except here and there and now and 
then in remote localities. 

They raided neighboring tribes (Zaparos, 
Cururays, Napos, and others) under cover 
of night, and after stealthily landing their 
canoes they charged on the communal hut 
in which the whole population was sleep- 
ing, and in the resultant excitement killed 
every man, woman, or child they could lay 
hands on ; then after cutting off the heads 
with a wooden macana, or steel machete, 
they rushed to their canoes and paddled 
swiftly away, halting midway home to pre- 
pare their trophies for the welcome and 
feast that awaited them at their home 
village. 

A great deal of misunderstanding exists 
about these trophies, which are almost uni- 
versally thought by people here in the U. S. 
and elsewhere to be shrunken heads with the 
bones and skull intact and that the Indians 
used some sort of magical process in 
shrinking them. The truth is that there are 
no bones inside as you can easily prove by 
examining one of the several which are in 
museums there in Washington and also in 
New York and Brooklyn. 

Here is how the process was performed: 
Enroute home the Indians camped on a 
sandy river bank and immediately piled up 
piles of sand and built big bun-fires around 
and over them and while the sand was heat- 
ing they skinned the scalp and face from 
the heads by making a slit upward at the 
back of the neck until the scalp and face 
could be yanked away from the bones, just 
like turning a sock inside out. The eyes 
were left in the skull and the facial skeleton 
was left intact. The scalp and face were 
then turned right-side out, the eye holes 
closed with stitches and the lips sewn 
together with three stitches, sinews or raw- 
hide being used for thread. The back of 
the neck was also stitched together where it 
had been split. The whole party were in the 
act of preparing the heads, each warrior 
keeping his separate until the sand became 
hot enough ; then they set about preparing 
them, by the simple process of filling them 
with hot sand and while they were full, by 
ironing them on the outside with hot rocks. 
After an hour or so of this the flesh and 
scalp had shrunk to about a third or fourth 
its former size, after having been constantly 
refilled with hot sand when the former sand 
became cool. They then embarked in their 
canoes and went on home where they drank 
chicha and danced until they wore them- 
selves out. The trophies were just for this 
one celebration and when it was over they 
were tossed away to be played with by the 
children and pet monkeys, and sold to pass- 
ing traders when they went up or down the 
Amazon. I have seen hundreds of them 
down there that have been bought by people 



in Ecuadorian villages, and I saw large col- 
lections in Guayaquil and Quito. Also, an 
American named Morley who lived at 
Huigra on the G&Q R.R., had over sixty 
in his collection which he had bought for a 
dollar or so each. 

The country inhabited by these Indians 
are the lower stretches of the rivers run- 
ning south from Ecuador and entering the 
Amazon where it swings around the big 
bend and heads east to Iquitos. 

There is a damn good book in your public 
library dealing with these Indians and their 
habits, written by Upp de Graff, and (I 
think) published in London by Unwin. It is 
called "Among the Head-hunters." He is 
possibly embellishing the facts in a place 
or two but it is an interesting book to read 
for the country and setting, and the action 
is true to life. 



TTERE'S an interesting exchange of 
•"--*■ correspondence between Mr. Lewis 
Barton and our rifle expert Donegan 
Wiggins. The moral still seems to be : 
Take it easy with those souvenir firearms! 

Friend Wiggins: Have just been reading 
my November issue of Adventure Magazine, 
my favorite magazine since 1912, and I 
always read the "Ask Adventure" depart- 
ment first. 

I read the letter from Mr. C. K. Parker 
of Eastman, Ga., to you regarding car- 
tridges for his Japanese 6.5 rifle. 

And I read your reply to him, truly a dis- 
couraging reply to a fellow who has a rifle 
he is anxious to try out. 

I hate to differ with you, friend Wiggins, 
but in the interest of good sport I must in 
this case. 

A Mr. J. R. Pittillo of Crowell, Texas 
makes a cartridge that is giving good results 
in the Japanese 6.5 rifle. He makes them 
from the 220 Swift case, soft point, and 
loads with 129 grains powder, He sells them 
for $4.50 for a box of twenty. Express 
charges paid by the buyer. 

While I have never personally fired these 
shells, I know of persons who have and 
say they have given satisfaction. Mr. Pittil- 
lo has a Federal license. 

I am writing Mr. C. K. Parker and tell- 
him of this man before he gets around to 
the point of throwing his 6.5 rifle in the 
nearest creek. 

Trusting you will not feel offended at 
my presumption, I am yours sincerely, 
— Lewis O. Barton 
Clifton, Texas 

Dear Mr. Barton : In response to your 
recent letter r I'll say I am not in the least 
put out by its contents ; guncranks like to 
compare conclusions, you know. I'm a Life 
Member of the National Rifle Association, 
so you. can readily see from that that I like 
arms. 



ASK ADVENTURE 



121 



Now, back to the Nip rifles ; I do every- 
thing possible to discourage the use of these 
arms. A local man is resizing .30 Ml shells, 
and reloading and selling same for the 6.5 
MM Nambu rifle, but I don't tell anyone of 
that fact. We have seen several of these 
that actually had CAST RECEIVERS in 
place of forged and machine ones ; we 
wonder how long such things will hold 
together under actual firing. 

The pre-war rifles seem to have been 
accurate weapons, from what the lads who 
were under fire by snipers in the Islands 
have told me, but the war-time made ones 
don't look so good. I think they carried 
manufacturing methods to a new low in 
safety margins, from my observations of 
the rifles. 

Now, the following firm advertises that 
they will be able to supply the 6.5 MM 
Arisaka ammo later this fall. 

Stoegers, Inc., 507 Fifth Ave., New York, 
N. Y. Imported loading, of course. They 
are larger dealers of foreign ammo than 
any other I know of. 

BUT, why will the boys experiment with 
the foreign weapons, when members of the 
N.R.A. can purchase excellent Springfield 
.30 caliber Model 1903's for the Ml ammo, 
from the government at $15? It's beyond 
me. Sincerely, 

— Donegan Wiggins 



One thousand accepted the invitation, in- 
cluding such men as General John B. Ma- 
gruder, E. Kirby-Smith. T. S. Hindman, C. 
M. Wilcox and Governors Murrah of Texas, 
Morehead of Kentucky and Allen of Louisi- 
ana. They crossed the Rio Grande at Eagle 
Pass, Texas, on July 4th, 1865, pausing 
there long enough to Bury their Confederate 
flag with suitable honors. Across the river, 
at Piedras Negras, they sold 4 cannon for 
enough to purchase supplies, and began 
fighting their way across northern Mexico 
on their route to Monterrey. The opposition 
was mostly guerrilla, led by officers of 
Juarez'. 

At Monterrey, the command broke into 
many pieces, groups going to Canada, 
Honduras, Sonora, and some even joining 
the French regulars. Shelby, with the 
remnants, marched to Mexico City. Maxi- 
milian, weak and vacillating as always, re- 
fused Shelby's offer, fearing U. S. dis- 
pleasure. The Empress Carlotta gratefully 
offered some land (the whereabouts is ob- 
scure) and they attempted to establish a 
colony there. Maximilian's overthrow and 
execution made the project untenable after 
June, 1867, and most of the exiles strag- 
gled back to the U. S., or disappeared. 

A SHIPMENT of Triatoina Porcata. 



CHELBY'S "Mules." 

Query: — Can you tell me where I can find 
a detailed account of the journey made to 
Mexico by General Joe Shelby's Confeder- 
ate cavalry after Lee's surrender? My ma- 
ternal grandfather was one of the "Shelby 
mules" as they were called by the Feds 
because of their superhuman endurance. 
It must have been some trip from the little 
I remember him telling me — hunger, thirst, 
Indians and hell all the way. 

— Bruce Venable 
Port Chicago, Calif. 

Reply by Col. R. G. Emery: — I'll begin 
with the bibliography you requested. 

"Noted Guerillas, or The Warfare of the 
Border/' J. N. Edwards, published in St. 
Louis by Bryan, Brand & Co. in 1877. 
(very good). 

"Shelby's Mexican Expedition" from the 
Dictionary of American History, Charles 
Scribner's Sons, NYC, 1942. (most avail- 
able). 

Also "Shelby and His Men; or the War 
in the West" Miami Print. & Pub. Co., 
Cincinnati, O., 1867 [Edwards, supra] 

That's about the list, so far as I know it. 
However, I'll tell you what little / know. 

After the downfall of the Confederacy 
in '65, Gen. Joseph 0. Shelby, one of the 
ablest of the surviving Confederate cavalry 
leaders, rather than surrender called upon 
his men to follow him to Mexicoand join 
him in offering his saber to Maximilian. 



Query: — I am sending, attached, a pack- 
age containing two Insects, nocturnal and 
blood-thirsty. They are new to me and I 
thought I knew all the biting and stinging 
varieties. Anyway, I would appreciate any- 
thing you have on them ; what they are and 
how do you Hck 'em. 

— Vincent Elliott 
Hilt, Siskiyou Co., Calif. 

Reply by Dr. S. W. Frost: — The bugs 
you sent recently are known by various com- 
mon names such as "blood-sucking cone- 
nose", "big bed bug" and "China bed bug." 
To the scientist they are known as Trtatoma 
porcata. 

These bugs occasionally invade houses or 
more commonly attack campers. Normally 
they occur in the nests of the wood rat. 
They occasionally attack man, producing a 
severe bite but are generally not considered 
fatal. They are also known to transmit a 
disease from rats to man. The patient de- 
velops nausea, rapid breathing, heart beat 
and pulse. This is followed by marked in- 
flammation of the skin and a considerable 
stinging sensation. These symptoms develop 
only if the bug is carrying the disease. 
Otherwise only a serious transitory stinging 
effect results. 

This is a western species which ranges 
eastward to Utah and south into Mexico. I 
have not met with this fellow personally 
although I have seen specimens in various 
collections. I have had experience with a 
Central and South American species which 
transmits a very serious disease known as 



122 



ADVENTURE 



chagas fever. I have also had experience 
with Triatoma sanguisuga which probably 
inflicts as serious a bite as the species you 
have in California. I agree with you that 
they are blood-thirsty beasts. 

Once while camping in Okefinokee swamp 
Georgia I received many bites from these 
bugs. For two days I suffered with high 
fever, terrific headache and was generally 
uncomfortable. 

To lick these pests, avoid places where 
they are known to occur. If sleeping out- 
doors, do not sleep directly on a canvas 
cot but use thick bedding. Some of the 
newer repellents such as Dimethylthalate 
should also help, 

CEXTANTS for sea and air. 

Query : — Are those bubble sextants as ad- 
vertised in different magazines any good? 
Can they be used for marine use? They are 
surplus from Army aircraft. Are a chrono- 
graph and a chronometer the same? I saw 
a chronograph for $29.75. I was under 
the impression a good chronometer cost 
$100 or more. Is there anywhere in the state 
of Washington a person with a grade school 
education can go to learn navigation? I can 
and have run fishing boats all over the in- 
land water of Alaska, can go and come at 
will and ease, and have never piled a boat 
up. But that won't get me a pilot's license. 
Can read a chart and set a course, but have 
never used a sextant. 

— Melvin H. Dudley 
Norman, Ark. 

Reply by C. B. Lemon: — I gather from 
your letter that you are anxious to obtain 
a Coastwise Pilot's License. I do not know 
offhand of any school of navigation, private- 
ly run, in Washington state. Why not look 
into the possibilities of the California State 
School Ship? It is not necessary to be a 
licensed mariner to obtain a Coast Pilot's 
License, however. Write to Steamboat In- 
spector Service, U.S.C.G., Customs House, 
Seattle, Washington, for a copy of Pilot 
Rules for Coast and Inland Water and it 
will give you the requirements necessary 
for such a pilot license. 

I could not say if the bubble sextants ad- 
vertised for sale are any good or not. If 
new, they would undoubtedly be in good 
condition, and if they were surplus prop- 
erty, they would no doubt still be good, but 
a thorough check by a competent person 
would be desirable. Bubble sextants are 
primarily for aviation use. 

There is quite a difference between a 
chronograph and a chronometer. A good 
chronometer by a reputable maker is ex- 
pensive. A good used one can also be found 
and if purchased should be checked before 
using. A chronograph measures and reads 
time and velocity of projectiles. A chrono- 
meter is an instrument which measures time 
with great accuracy. 



"1UTANGAREVA in French Oceania. 



Query : — I have been wondering lately 
about a few of the islands of the South 
Seas, and I am hoping you can be of help 
to me. I am particularly interested in 
learning something about the Island of 
Mangareva, located just above the Tropic of 
Capricorn, between 130-140 degrees west 
longitude — its history, people, climate, 
geography, etc. Why is it listed on some 
maps as "Is. Gambier?" Where can I locate 
a good map of Mangareva, as well as the 
entire group to which it belongs? How 
would I go about getting permission to land 
there, and how would I travel to it? 

My other group of questions deals with 
a subject about which you must have been 
questioned many times. Despite all the 
hocum which has been written and filmed 
about those lush South Sea islands with 
their fabulous belles and wonderful climate, 
I have heard that there are some very much 
like these tales. Norfolk Island, about 
which you recently wrote in Adventure, 
seems to be one of these spots. Are there 
others ? 

If you were going to live on one of these 
isles, which would it be? Why? What is it 
like? Please list about 3-5 such places : their 
climate, geography, people, outstanding ad- 
vantages or disadvantages. I realize this is 
a big order, but I hope you can handle it. 
—Kenneth R. Kurtz 
Weston, W. Va, 



Reply by William McCreadie :— Since you 
are particularly interested in Mangareva: 
the Gambier archipelago is an administra- 
tive group of French Oceania (capital, 
Papeete) and consists of elevated islands 
like Mangareva and many atolls. Manga- 
reva has an area of six square miles and a 
native population of about 500. White resi- 
dents are a gendarme, his wife, and two 
priests. It is mountainous. Rikitea, the 
pretty village, contains a Catholic church 
with a remarkable oil painting. Three Ta- 
hitian trading firms are established on the 
island. There is good fishing, an ideal 
climate, and plenty of fruit and breadfruit. 
There is a wireless station. It is frequently 
visited by inter-island schooners, and it is 
often possible to get passage on one of them 
from Papeete. However, the French 
Government imposes many restrictions on 
the would-be tourist. (You could get in- 
formation on these regulations from the 
French Consulate in New York.) Inquire 
at a travel bureau for sailing dates of ships 
for Tahiti. 

All Pacific islands have strict regulations 
regarding tourists, usually requiring that 
return fare be deposited in advance. 

The map issued by the National 
Geographic Society is the best guide to the 
Pacific. 




ASK ADVENTURE 
EXPERTS 




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Explain your case sufficiently to guide the expert you question. The magazine does not assume any 

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SPORTS AND HOBBIES 



dances, regional customs; Africa* survivals, relig- 
ious sects; voodoo — Harold Pkkbce, c/o Adventure. 

Archery — Karl B. Powell, c/o Adventure. 

Auto Racing— William Campbell Gault, 4828 
N. Elkhart Ave., Milwaukee 11, Wla, 

Baseball — Frederick Libs, c/o Adventure. 

Basketball— Stanlb* Carhart, 89 Broad St. 
Mattawan, N. J. 

BlvGarae Hunting; in North America t Guides 

and equipment — A U, Obhabt, c/o Adventure. 

Boxlna? — Col. Juan V. Ubohbach, c/o Adven- 
ture. 

Camping and Outdoor Cookery — Paul M, 
Fink, Jonesboro, Teiin. 

Canoeing— H. S. M. Kemp, SOI 10th St, BL, 
Prince Albert, Sask., Canada. 

Coins and Medal* — William L. Class, Ameri- 
can Numismatic Society, Broadway at 156th, 
N. Y. C. 

Dos*— Jack Denton Scott, R.F.D., Roxbury, 
Conn. 

Fencing — Col. J ban V. Gboubach, c/o Adven- 
ture. 



Fisnlns;, Fresh nntctt Fly and bait casting; 
bait casting outfits; fishing trips — John Aldbn 
Knight. 929 W. 4th St., WliHamsport, Penna. 



Flaking, Salt water* Bottom fishing, surf oast' 
tug; trolling; equipment and locations — C. Bla.cs- 
BVBN MiLLBB, c/o Adventure. 

Fly and Bait Casting: Tournaments— "Cmw" 

Stanwood, East Sullivan, Maine. 

Hi kins — OB. Claddb P. Fobdtcb, c/o Adventure, 

Horse* and Horsemanship — John RlCHABD 

Young, c/o Adventure, 

Motor Boating; — Gerald T. WHITS, MontTUlt, 

Motorcycling! Regulations, mechanics, racing— 
Chables M. Dodgb, C/o Adventure. 



Rifles, Pistol*, Revolvers! American and For- 
eign — Donhgan Wiggins, 3325 Liberty Rd., Salem, 
Oregon. 

Shotguns; American and foreign; wing shooting 
and field trials; gunsmithing — Rot S. TiNN»r. 
Brlelle, N. J. 

Skiing- — William C. Clapp, The Mountain Book 
Shop, North Conway, N. H. 

Small Boating i Skiffs, outboard, email launch, 
river and lake cruising — IUymosd S. Speaks, 11331 
Burin Ave., Inglewood, Calif. 

Swimming; — Louis DuB. Handlm, 113 West 



Swimming — Louifi 
11th St., N.Y., N. Y. 



Track — Jackson Scholz, R. D. No. 2 Doylea- 
town. Pa. 

Woodcraft — Paul M. Fine, Joneaboro, Teun. 

Wrestling — Mdbl H, Thbdsh, New Cork, Ath- 
letic Club, 69th St and 7th Ave., N. Y„ N. Y. 

SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL SUBJECTS 

Anthropology! American, north of Vie Panamm 
Canal; customs, dress, architecture, pottery and 
decorative arts, weapons and implements, fetishism, 
sootal divisions — Abthub Woodwabd, Los Angeles 
Museum, Exposition Park, Los Angeles, Calif. 

Entomology! Insects and spiders; venomous 
and disease-carrying insects — Dr. S. W. Frost, 465 
E. Foster Ave., State College, Penna. 

Forestry, North American i The U. 8. Forestry 

Bervioe, our national forests, conservation and use 
—A. H. Cabhaht, c/o Adventure. 

Forestry, Tropical t Tropioai forests and prod- 
ucts — Wm. R. Barboub, care of U.S. Forest Service, 
Glenn Blag., Atlanta, Ga. 

Herpetologys Reptiles and amphibians — Clif- 
fobd H. Poi'H, c/o Adventure, 

Mining, Prospecting, and Precious Stones i 

Anywhere in North America, Prospectors' outfitting; 

any mineral, metallic or non-metallic — Vioxo* 
Shaw, c/o Adventure. 



123 



124 



ADVENTURE 



Photography: Outfitting, work in out-of-ihe way 
places; general information — Paul L. Anderson, 
86 Washington St., East Orange, N. J. 



Radio i Telegraphy, telephony history; receiver 
construction, portable sets — Donald Mcnicol, «/o 
Adventure. 



Itatlrortdsi In the Untied States, Mexico Md 
Canada- -R. T. Nbwmam, 701 N. Main fit., Pads, 1U. 



Iiwntninri Hapsbubq Lakhs, e/o Adventure. 



Tait<l*rmj- — Edwabo B. Lamb, M N. Burnett 
St, Bast Orange, N. J. 



Wildcraftina- and Trapping? — Raymond ft. 

BriABS, 11331 Bartn At*., Inglewood, Calif. 



MILITARY, NAT AX AND POWCB 



Taltcd State* Army — COL. R. G. Bmbby, U.8JL 
Bet., c/o Adventure. 

United State* Coast Guard — LiaoT. C B. 
Lemon, O.S.C.G., Bet, Box 221, Equhitmk, Wayne 
Co^ Penna. 

United Statea Marine Corps — MAJ. ROBERT H. 
BAHKIH, TJ.S.M.C.R., c/o Adventure. 



Merchant Marine — KxttMI* W. Salybs, C/o 
Adventure. 

Military Aviation — O. B. MTKRS, C/O Adventure. 

Federal Investigation Activities — Secret Serv- 
ice, Immigration, Customs, Border Patrol, etc— 
Fbancis H. B»ht, e/o Adventure. 

The French Foreign Legion — Georges Sua- 
dbe, e/o A tf veatitre. 

Hoyal Canadian Mounted Police — H. 8. M. 
Kemp. 501 10th St., E., Prince Albert, Bass., 
Canada, 

Stat* Police — Fhancis H. Bbnt, c/o Adventure. 



-^Madagascar — RALPH Linton. Dept. of Anthro- 
pology, Columbia University, N. Y., N. T. 



Aala, Part lirSiam, Malay States, Straits Set- 
tlements, Java, Sumatra, Dutch East Indies, Ceylon 
— V. B. Windle, Box 818, Rancno Santa Fe, Calif. 
2 Persia, Arabia — Captain Bbvbblt-Giddings, c/o 
Adventure. 3 -^Palestine — Captain H. W. Eadbb, 
8808 West 26th Ave.. Vancouver, B. C 4 *A/- 
ahaniatan, Northern India, Kashmir, Khyber Pats 
— Boland Wild, 684 So. Gramercy PI., Loa 
Angeles, Calif. 

Europe, Part 1 irThe British Isles — Thomas 
Bow his Pabtingtom, Constitutional Clan, Northum- 
berland Are., London, W. C. 2, England. 



South America* Part 1 Colombia, Ecuador, 
Peru, Bolivia and Chile — Edgar Yoono, c/o Adven- 
ture. 2 •m-Aroentina — Alusom Williams Bcnklbx, 

c/o Adventure. 3 Braxil — aetulk J. Bumta, c/o 

Adventure. 



West Indies — John B. Lepfingwell, c/o Ad- 
venture. 

Bafflnlnnd and Greenland — VICTOR Shaw, c/o 
Adventure. 

Mexico, Part 1 Northern Border States— J. W. 
Whitbakeh, 2903 San Gabriel St., Austin, Tex. 
2 Quintana Roo, Yucatan, Campeche — Captain W. 
Rcshell Sheets, c/o Adrenture. 3 irWest Coast 
beginning with State of Sinaloa; Central and 
Southern Mexico, including Tabasco and Chiapas — 
Wallace Montgomery, Central Sanalona, S. A., 
Costa Rica, Sinaloa. Mexico. 



Canada, Part 1 -^Southeastern Quebec — Wil- 
liam MacMillax, 89 Laurentlde Ave., Quebec, 
Canada. 2 Ottawa Valley and Southeastern Ontario 
— Habby M. Moobb, 578 Isabella, Pembroke, Ont, 
Canada. 3 itOeorgian Bay and Southern Ontario; 
National Parks Camping — A. D. L. Robinson, 103 
Wembly Rd., Toronto, Ont., Canada. 4 icNorthem 
Saskatchewan; Indian life and language, hunting 
trapping — H. S. M. Kemp. 601 10th St. B., Prince 
Albert, Bask., Canada. -kYukon, British Columbia 
Northwest Territories, Alberta, Western Arctic — 
Philip H. Godsbll, F.R.G.S., General Delivery, 
Alrdrte, Alberta, Canada, 



GEOGRAPHICAL SUBJECTS 



irltarw Guinea — L. P. B. Amur, e/o Adventure. 

-fc-New Zealand. Cook Island, Samoa — Tom I* 

Mills, 27 Bowen St, Fending, New Zealand. 

•^Australia and Tasmania — A law FOUR, 242 
Blizabeth St, Sydney, Australia. 

-k/South Sea Islands — William McCheadie, No. 
1 Flat -Scarborough," 83 Sidney Bd., Mauley, 
N. S. W., Australia. 

Hawaii, Christmas, WaJbe, Canton, Midway 
and Palmyra Islands — Cabl J. Kowz, 211-3 
Naska, Kahului, Maui, T.H. 



Alaska — Frank Richardson Pierce, c/o Ad- 
venture. 



"Western U. S„ Part 1 Pacific Coast States — 
Frank Winch, c/o Adventure. 2 New Mexico; 
Indians, etc.— H. F. Robinson, 1236 N. 8th St., 
Albuquerque, New Mexico. 3 Nevada, Montana 
and Northern Rockies — FRed W. Egelston, P. O. 
Box 297, Elko, Nev. 4 Idaho and environs — R. T. 
Newman, 701 N. Main St.. Paris, 111. 5 Arisona. 
Utah — C. C. Anderson, Box 335, Springerville, 
Ariz, fl Texas, Oklahoma — J. W. Whiteaker, 2093 
San Gabriel St., Austin, Tex. 



Middle Western U. S. — Lower Mississippi from 
St. Louis down, Louisiana Swamps, St. Francis 
Arkansas .Bottom— Raymond S, Spears, 11331 
Burin Ave., Inglewood, Calif. 



Africa, Part 1 irLibya, Morocco, Egypt, Tunis, 
Algeria, Anglo-Egyptian Sudan — Capt. H. W. Eadbs, 
8808 West 26th Ave., Vancouver, B. C. 2 Abyssinia, 
Italian Somaliland, British Somali Coast Protector- 
ate, Eritrea, Uganda, Tanganyika, Kenya — Gordon 
MacCrbagh, c/o Adventure. 3 Tripoli, Sahara cara- 
vans — Captain Beverly-Giddings, c/o Adventure. 
4 Bechuanaland, Southern Africa, Angola, Belgian 
Congo, Egyptian Sudan and French West Africa — 
Major S. L. Glbnibtbs, c/o Adventure. 



Eastern U. S., Part 1 Maine — "CB.XBB" Stan- 
wood, East Sullivan, Me. 2 Vt., N. H., Conn., R. I., 
Mass. — Howard R. Voight, P. O. Box 716, Wood* 
mont, Conn. 3 Adlrondacks, New York — Raymond 
S. SpBAns, 11331 Burin Ave., Inglewood, Calff. 
4 Ala., Tenn., Miss., N. C, S. C, Fla., Oa.~ Hafs- 
bdeg Liebe, c/o Adventure. 5 The Great Smokies 
and Appalachian Mountains south of Virginia— 
Paul M. Fink, Jonesboro, Tenn. 



MAKE YOUR OWN LUCK 



125 



(Continued from page 69) 

"You know about that?" 

"I know all about it — charter juggling, 
prometin' a shipyard strike, even — though 
I can't swear to it — startin' a small fire 
in the Islander. And he's done the same 
with other ships! I'll sign a statement — 
if you'll bear a hand at helpin' me keep 
my ticket." 

The Islander was ranging alongside 
now. 

"All right, skipper?" Lane called anx- 
iously. 

"I'm fine!" Dan answered. "And so 
are you! Stand by!" 

He climbed down to the deck. 

Colmar lifted his head. "I'll settle, 
handsomely," he said hoarsely. "This can 
still be smoothed out." 

Dan ignored him. 

The lifeboat from the sizable freighter 
swept up on the side opposite the Islander. 
The dyspeptic Yankee skipper himself 
swarmed up on deck, blood in his eye 
and an automatic pistol in his hand. 
Dan met him. 

"Here's the buoy shifter and a man 
who wants to make a statement," he 
said, standing above the silent Colmar. 
"Will you handle it, Captain Slocum, till 
the Coast Guard gets here? I'm a biased 
party — I'm going to sue this smooth gent, 
in jail or out, for doing his best to wreck 
my ship." 

"He'll be in the pen or my name ain't 
Slocum," the freighter captain said. "Hell's 
bells ! It might ha' been my ship that 
piled on that reef! What's his game, 
anyway?" 

"Selling a ship to one sucker after an- 
other," Dan said succinctly. "Getting her 
back for nothing because the suckers didn't 
have enough money to fight him and hang 
on. But that's not the worst !" 

"What's the rest ?" 

Dan glanced across at his ship, with his 
crew, like awed children, lined up along 
the rail. 

"What's the rest, Captain?" Slocum 
repeated. 

"Stealing the heart right out of a good 
man's chest," Dan said. "For that he'll 
pay. And meanwhile my mate, all hands 
and I will be making ourselves a mess of 
luck in the shipping business." 

THE END 



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126 



ADVENTURE 



(Continued from page 8?) 
of juice about three o'clock, and I get 
ready for him to shove me, or wipe his 
hands on me, or something. I can tell, 
almost to the second, when he will turn 
around. He is almost ready when some- 
thing flies past my ear like a bullet, hits 
Mike "WHUMP !" on the back, and goes 
right back past my ear again. 

Before I can breathe, Mike gags and 
goes "WHOOOSH!" and Mike's cheek 
full of juice and cud flies all over every- 
thing. And Holy Moses is jumping past 
me, sticking his hand in his pocket and 
yelling. 

"Hannigan!" he yells. "Hannigan, you 
spit tobacco juice on my floor. You spit 
tobacco juice on my clean floor!" 

"I couldn't help it," says Mike, gulping. 
"He," he points at me. "That punk hit 
me on the back. And on purpose, too." 

"That's a lie," says Holy Moses. "I 
was standing right behind Eddie. He 
didn't raise his hand. He didn't even raise 
his head. You spit on my clean floor, 
Hannigan. Do you spit on the floor at 
home ? ' 



Everybody is tittering and laughing at 
Mike. He can't take it. He raises his big 
fist and says, "You can't talk that way to 
me, you sawed-off ape." 

Mike is going to slug him. I know he is. 
There are a lot of big guys in the shop, 
but they don't move. Mary picks on me. 

"Eddie !" she yells. "Help Mr. Murphy. 
For heaven's sake, don't let that big 
clown ..." 

I have never had a redheaded woman 
appeal to me that way before. I jump 
around, knock Holy Moses aside and 
catch Mike's clumsy right fist on my left 
arm. Then I nail him. He flies back and 
hits the wall and slides down and sits 
there looking at me. I have never felt so 
good in my life, but my feet want to run. 
Mike will get up and kill me. 

And Mary has to keep yelling, "Good 
boy, Eddie! Good boy. Go ahead. Sock 
him again." 

"Get up, Mike," somebody says. "Get 
up and fight." I am very surprised to find 
out it is me talking. 

Mike feels his jaw. "You lay off me, 
Eddie Crosby," he says. "I don't want any 



D 



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HOLY MOSES MURPHY 



127 



trouble with you. You're always picking 
on me." 

"You bum," says Holy Moses and walks 
around me and grabs Mike's collar and 
lifts that big hulk like he was a feather 
and shakes him good. Seeing that, I know 
how those rumors got around about Holy 
Moses being tough. That little man is 
strong as an ox and he no more needed 
my help than he needed advice on how to 
run his business. I can't understand what 
Mary was so worried about. 

Holy Moses pulls a postal card out of 
his pocket and fishes out a ten buck bill 
and hands them to Mike. 

"There you are, Hannigan," he says. 
"I knew you wouldn't last around here. I 
didn't even put your name on the pay- 
roll. Take this card back to the USES 
and tell them I'm full up." 

Mike takes off his apron and packs his 
tools and starts out, walking a wide circle 
around me. When he is about twenty feet 
away, Holy Moses takes his hand out of 
his pocket and throws. That rubber ball 
of his hits Mike between the shoulders 
and bounces right back into Holy Moses' 
hand. Mike don't even look back. He just 
walks faster. 

"You see," says Holy Moses. "You can 
do it, once you make up your mind. You 
can do anything." 

He is right. There comes the time when 
I run into his office and lay two cigars on 
his desk. 

"It's happened," I yell at him. "It's 
happened and Mary is O.K." 

"Congratulations, son," he says. "But 
you ought to be more thrifty. One cigar is 
enough for one baby." 

"Sure," I tell him. "But we got two. 
Twins. Didn't you tell me once that any- 
thing I could do, Mary could do twice as 
good? Well. Two little redheads. Can't 
tell them apart. They're as pretty as die 
castings that came out of a mold you 
made yourself." 

That tickles him pink. He grabs the 
phone and dials a number and says, 
"Burt? I got just the man for you. Eddie 
Crosby. He'll make you a good superin- 
tendent. He not only knows his business, 
but he seems to know how to get the 
most out of a situation. I'll send him right 
over. Don't mention it, Burt. Goodbye." 

THE END 




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ADVENTURE 



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(Continued from pagt 61) 
war cry rose above rushing feet in the 
passage. Again Jeffrey let the pack slip 
away from my mouth and nostrils; he 
whirled about with gun uplifted as the 
door snapped inward and an avalanche of 
black bodies plunged through. Jeffrey 
fired, but the two Zulus who fell made no 
hole in that rushing mass. Outside I could 
hear the guards yelling, Captain Hong- 
ward loudest of all. The Zulus had got 
the Lizard's message that the white 
wonder dokter was butchering their Baas 
friend, Son of the Yellow-Maned One. 

With a fanatical roar they drove Jeffrey 
into a corner while the guards struggled 
to get through, unaware of what the riot 
was about. For an instant the Kaffirs 
wavered as Jeffrey raised the empty gun, 
crying out he was a witch doctor who 
would bring death to them all. 

"Bulalal Bulala! Kill I Kill!" they 
howled in answer, rushed him and hurled 
him to the floor, then jumped upon him 
and trampled the last breath from his 
body. They were dancing on the prostrate 
form and about it when Hongward and 
the compound guards squeezed through. 

"Go easy on them, Captain," I said 
weakly. "They killed a murderer. Jeffrey 
was the compound-runner. The Dawson 
diamond is on his body." 

Their vengeance satisfied, the blacks 
yielded to the guards. A little Cape brandy 
brought me around. It was hard for the 
captain to believe the macabre story at 
first, until we had checked up. Buchara 
was inside man, aided by a handful of 
Kaffirs, one of whom had got the big 
diamond from the piece of pipe used in 
the yard riot, delivering it to Jeffrey, gate 
runner. Buchara had used the sjambok 
on blacks who threatened to squeal. 
Flavin the Greek was the outside fence 
of the I. D. B. syndicate. We went to the 
Kaffir burial plot that night in time to 
catch Flavin exhuming the body of the 
Zulu lashed and murdered the day before, 
taking the divekeeper red-handed with a 
half pint of diamonds. 

I held my job, with a bonus of five 
hundred pounds from the G. M. for re- 
covering the Big Shining Stone — and 
a month's hunting trip with Marcia for 
plugging the compound leak. 



GRANDMA WAS A LADY 




(Continued from page 49) 
when they came out of that one, they came 
out together. 

That last mile or so of homestretch 
seemed a million and one to me. I couldn't 
see very well because the sun was on the 
water and the two boats were like bugs 
scooting across a lake of fire. But I could 
hear 'em coming, and after a bit I could 
see them better, going all out, bow to 
bow. And a few seconds later I saw some- 
thing else; smoke, in sharp, black 
splotches. 

"I told you," Jock raved. "She's caving 
in." 

But she wasn't. Not Nell. The smoke 
was from Check, streaming away in long 
pennants ; pennants which seemed to grab 
and hold him. For a hundred yards from 
the final gun he settled and died and Chug- 
ger loped over the line. 

JOCK was still white and 
barely able to stand when Nell 
gasped into the pits. Chugger 
sat back in the cockpit, rub- 
bing his arms and smiling. 

"You look like you had some kind of a 
scare," he said to Jock. 

"Just fifteen thousand dollars worth," 
Jock said. He blenched at the thought, 
and sat down on the fuel can again. 

Chugger removed the derby and mopped 
the spray from his face. 

"You should have told me," he said. 
"As it was I had to pick it up from Check 
last night when I was about to take 
Typhoon back to the Yard. I didn't know 
you had a bet with him, so when he asked 
me where I was going I told him all the 
trouble I'd had with the boat, and seeing 
as how he's a competitor I spread it on a 
little thicker than what was really the case. 
And I told him too, that we'd had a big 
brawl about the whole thing and that we 
were hardly on speaking terms with each 
other." 

"Which is just about the case," Jock 
said. 

"Knowing how Check likes his booze," 
Chugger went on, "we had a couple of 
drinks, and then he got real confidential 
and told me about the bet, and said he was 
glad about Typhoon because it seemed his 
boat had sprung a few bugs which he 
thought he'd ironed out ; running too hot 



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130 



ADVENTURE 



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because of the rough water, and he didn't 
want to push her too hard. So we had 
another drink or so and I asked him would 
it be O.K. if I drove Nell in the last heat 
so I didn't ruin Typhoon completely. He 
was real generous about it and said sure. 
He never figured I'd work a sleeper in on 
him, and by the time he found out it was 
too late and he burned up his boat like I 
figured he would ; she and Typhoon being 
sister-ships, and thereby having ailments 
in common." 

Chugger clucked and shook his head 
about the matter. 

"You took a hell of a chance," Jock 
said. "I thought sure as hell that blower 
would tear Nell's deck right off." 

Chugger's eyes caressed the shining 
mahogany. 

"Some boats are like people," he said 
fondly. He looked up at Jock. "You gave 
me the idea for transferring the blower, 
you know." 

Jock looked startled. 

"You got talking about my grandmother 
full of whiskey. Maybe you didn't know 
I had a grandmother. She never drank 
any whiskey, but on her golden wedding 
she drank a whole quart of champagne and 
then spent the rest of the night dancing 
us young folks right into the floor. She 
was quite some lady. Of course," he added 
thoughtfully, "she spent the next three 
days flat on her back in bed." 

jock's mouth was sagging a little at 
this point. 

"So, I figured if Grandma could take 
it, Nell could take it; just for a little 
while, a couple of laps. Just enough to 
sneak up on sleepy Lamont." 

"I'll be damned," Jock said. He said it 
again and pranced around on the wet 
planks a bit. He stopped and smiled at 
Chugger. 

"I'm going to give you a nice cut of 
that money," he said. "Yes, sir, I certainly 
am." 

Chugger flipped his hand in a careless 
gesture. 

"You don't have to do that. I got a 
couple of friends here to place a little bet 
with Check last night. Soon's they tow 
him in I'll get it from him. He don't 
know it's mine," he said thoughtfully. 
"And I don't think he's gonna like it." 

THE END 



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